Bonds’ bombs just in time for new contract |

Bonds’ bombs just in time for new contract

Is San Franciso Giants’ leftfielder Barry Bonds’ torrid home-run pace because he’s due for a new contract?

Former All-Star catcher Gary Carter thinks that may the reason for his 39 home runs.

“It’s pretty incredible for a guy that’s gotten to his age,” said Carter, who launched 324 homers in his career. “He’s in incredible shape and he’s kind of on a mission because he’s in the last year of his contract.

Former big league players and managers at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship this week offered their opinions of how and why Bonds is on his historic pace.

No one can deny the streak San Francisco Giants’ left fielder Barry Bonds is on this season.

Just a few games before the All-Star break, the three-time MVP is on pace to shatter Mark McGwire’s single-season mark of 70 .

Carter saw a lot great power hitters during 18-year pro career, but nothing like the display Bonds is putting on.

“All in all he’s had an incredible year to get over the 500 home run plateau and he’s sitting at 534 right now, that’s unbelievable,” he said. “Who knows how many more years he may have.

“The way I look at it is that everyone is going to come through once in a while and have big year but he’s just having a super MVP year.”

While Bonds’ statistics are unbelievable, his former teammate, pitcher Rick Rhoden still thinks today’s game is more offensive in general.

“Everything is condusive to hitting now,” he said. “The ball parks are built to hitters, pitching is thinner.

“But he’s still a great ball player. He’s won three MVPs.”

Throughout the season opposing managers have tried to figure out how to minimize Bonds’ impact on the games. The most successful ploy to date has just to intentionally walk or pitching around the slugger.

Former skipper Davey Johnson knows first-hand how explosive his bat can be as the manager of both the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sooner or later, Bonds will catch up to the walks.

“If (Jeff) Kent keeps swinging the bat good, they’ll have to pitch to him,” said Johnson, who also played for 13 years. “And if guys get on in front of him, they’ll have to pitch to him, so a lot of things could happen.

“But no one likes to pitch to him. He’s a good hitter.”

Another great hitter, Hall-of-Famer George Brett, is just amazed at all of the power numbers around the league.

“It’s amazing how many home runs you see nowadays,” the former Kansas City Royals’ third and first baseman said. “I don’t know if the balls are juiced or if the pitching is that bad, or if these guys are that good or strong or what.

“My hat goes off to those guys, (Juan) Gonzalez, Mike Sweeney and the guys who are having great offensive numbers.”

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