Sweeney: It's 'over and done'
Giants don't expect another apology from Bonds
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
(02-20) 04:00 PDT Scottsdale , Ariz. -- The aggrieved party in the Barry Bonds-Mark Sweeney amphetamines fiasco insists it is forgotten, but is it? On Monday, before Bonds ducked into Scottsdale Stadium ahead of today's first full-squad workout, Sweeney said, "Like I said at FanFest, it was over and done with and time to move on and talk about baseball, which is good."
But if Bonds really did fail an amphetamine test last summer and blame it on something he took from Sweeney's locker, as the New York Daily News reported last month, he violated a basic clubhouse code, and the question becomes, does Bonds have to address the issue with his teammates right away? Even if the story was not true, and Bonds is innocent, must he say that to the team to allay suspicion that he stabbed Sweeney in the back?
"Knowing Barry, I don't think he's going to," shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "Maybe it's going to be a situation where we're having a team meeting and he might stress it. He's not the kind of guy who's going to come in and say, 'Hey, I want to call a meeting to apologize to everybody.' I think he realizes he made a mistake. He apologized publicly, and I think he'll move on from that."
Bonds issued a statement as soon as the story broke, saying Sweeney had "nothing to do with this matter" and apologizing to Sweeney and his family, the Giants and their teammates. Sweeney accepted the apology and said he did not believe the Daily News' report that Bonds dragged his name into the affair.
Sweeney looked chipper as he arrived in camp Monday, wearing a pair of camouflage shorts and a figurative coat of armor in anticipation of the Bonds questions.
When a reporter suggested the incident made Sweeney a household name, he said, "You are sweet for saying that, but I'm not a household name. Thank you, but I'm still a pinch-hitter."
Sweeney is more than that. He is one of the clubhouse camaraderie chiefs. Last spring, he, Steve Finley and Todd Greene labored to create a cohesive atmosphere in what had been a fractured clubhouse. When a reporter said that creating a comfortable cocoon for Bonds seemed to be the main impetus, Sweeney disagreed, saying, "You guys make it a Barry thing. It's not us.
"My job in here is to get everyone on the same page -- everyone -- including the clubhouse guys. I think that's very important."
Bonds is expected to participate in today's first full-squad workout. He arrived in Arizona on Monday afternoon and popped into the clubhouse for about 45 minutes to drop off his gear. He did not speak to media, but is expected to hold a news conference this afternoon. Many national reporters will fill the room. The rest of the Giants know the drill.
Randy Winn confessed he was taken aback some by the intense but understandable scrutiny of Bonds last season as he approached Babe Ruth's home run total under the suspicion of past steroid use, but Winn said it was not a problem.
"I don't think it had an effect on the team," Winn said. "The media coming in, they're not coming around to talk to me. They're going to Barry because he hasn't hit a home run in seven at-bats and asking, 'What's wrong with you?' "
Durham returns: They have not been together as long as Will Clark, Robby Thompson and Jose Uribe were, but the re-signing of Pedro Feliz and Ray Durham to play alongside Vizquel creates continuity on the San Francisco infield. After the 2006 season, Durham was expected to leave for a rich, multiyear contract the Giants were not expected to match.
But they lured him back with a two-year, $14.5 million deal he admits he might not have signed as a younger player, when money was the end-all.
"The city is tremendous, (the Giants) have a first-class organization out there and I've become close friends with a lot of the guys in this clubhouse," Durham said. "To go and start over again, I didn't think it would have been the right fit. Then again, they stepped up to the plate and gave me something to think about. I wasn't looking to break the bank, just something that was comfortable, and here I am."
This article appeared on page E - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle