Bonds, Giants still not certain what future holds

Sunday, September 24, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds posed for the team photo last month alongside all his teammates. He has been taking part in pregame stretching, too, a rarity for the San Francisco slugger in the past.

This season, Bonds has appeared more comfortable in his own clubhouse than in recent years. Perhaps he is relishing the mundane rituals of a 162-game season, knowing this quite possibly could be his last.

He's still wishy-washy on the retirement topic.

As the Giants head into their final homestand of 2006 starting Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, many of Bonds' biggest supporters over the years may be about to get their final glimpse of the seven-time NL MVP playing regularly in San Francisco.

Bonds, 42, would like to finish his career in the city where he's spent the last 14 of his 21 big league seasons. Yet he repeatedly has said his future is in the hands of the Giants.

"I'm not at an age where I can pick where I play," he said. "If you want me, call me. ... I don't even know what I'm going to do. Right now, I'm going to wait until the offseason, take care of my family and talk to my son and my wife. They're the ones who are iffy, not me."

While the Giants' brass has said it can see the club moving forward without Bonds, there are significant considerations that come with such a decision: San Francisco hosts next summer's All-Star game, Bonds is a big reason the Giants draw 3 million fans each year, and he may break the all-time home run record nezt year.

Bonds hit his 733rd home run Friday night in Milwaukee to tie home run king Hank Aaron's National League record and move within 22 of tying Aaron's all-time mark of 755. Bonds hit his 25th homer of the year.

"We said we would evaluate all this at the end of the year, and you can't do it until the end of the year," Giants owner Peter Magowan said. "And that was, I think, in retrospect, a pretty smart thing to say."

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