Bonds to star in documentary series

Bonds to star in series

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There were no bright lights on the back fields behind Scottsdale Stadium where Barry Bonds did his running Wednesday, but there soon will be.

"They wore me out today," said Bonds, who again appeared in flaming orange wig as Paula Abdul in the second day of "Giants Idol," a spoof that raised $6,000 for the club's community fund. "Up at 6 a.m. to work out in the gym. Running hard on the back fields, I'm tired."

From here on in, Bonds will have every one of his moves documented, edited and categorized as he prepares to pass Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list sometime in April or early May.

That was made certain with the announcement that Tollin/Robbins Productions, ESPN Original Entertainment and Bonds will team to produce 10 hours of programming to be aired each week on one of the ESPN networks until the left-handed slugger passes the Babe at 714. Bonds is at 708, 47 away from Hank Aaron's 755, the big enchilada.

The first show of the series, entitled "Bonds on Bonds," is slated for an hour slot on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET April 4, a day after the Giants open the season in San Diego's PETCO Park.

It will be aired in lengths of either 30 to 60 minutes each Tuesday, said Mike Tollin, the co-producer of the show, who originally met Bonds during a shooting of his 1995 documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream," which focused on the Hammer's run at Ruth's record.

The goal is to be renewed for another 10 hours of production if and when Bonds closes in on Aaron, with all the composite episodes being edited to a 100-minute documentary film that will illustrate the events that transpired both on and off the field as Bonds made a run at one of baseball's most cherished records.

"That's the holy grail," Tollin said. "The key here is capturing reality and not creating or altering reality. As I've said to Barry, our goal as documentary film producers is to be as inconspicuous as possible and to be a 'fly on the wall' and to float into the background as best we can."

Tollin's production company, ESPN, Major League Baseball, the Giants and Bonds will have review rights of each episode before they are aired, Tollin said, but ultimately he intends to produce an independent piece.

Bonds, though, said he has "a lot" of creative input and will assert it.

"Once we get into the editing and I see the cuts, I'll be able to tell you more about how I feel about it," Bonds said. "I'm excited. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be doing it."

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Meanwhile, Bonds continued his spring workouts under the direction of the Giants training staff, which has tried to keep many of his activities out of the fishbowl atmosphere of the main stadium. Much of his leg and stamina work has been conducted on the new back field behind the facility or in the training room.

Last year, Bonds underwent surgery three times on his right knee and missed all except 14 games of the regular season. When he returned in September, he played in intense pain, but still batted .286 with five home runs, all in his first 36 at-bats.

The Giants open the Cactus League season on Thursday against Milwaukee in Maryvale and then play the next four games at Scottsdale Stadium, including Sunday's split-squad exhibition against Team USA, which is prepping for Tuesday's opening game against Mexico in the World Baseball Classic at nearby Chase Field.

Since the designated hitter can be utilized by both teams in the Sunday game, the Giants may hold Bonds' spring debut until then. Bonds is a member of the 52-man U.S. provisional roster, but he has declined to play in the tournament so he can remain in Giants camp and slowly rebuild the strength of his leg.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.