Before the Houston Astros took on the role of Major League Baseball's biggest villain, there was Barry Bonds.
The former San Francisco Giants slugger broke the all-time home run record with suspicions of steroid use following behind him at all times, and he spent plenty of time clapping back at all of his detractors and carrying a thorny attitude around in the process.
Now, in 2020, Bonds has seemingly dropped his previous persona. When speaking with Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, Bonds let his gruff exterior down, and expressed his belief that the league gave him a "death sentence."
"I feel like a ghost," Bonds told The Athletic. "A ghost in a big empty house, just rattling around...A death sentence. That's what they've given me...My heart, it's broken. Really broken."
After retiring from the baseball in 2007, Bonds said he never felt welcome by those around the league. Bonds did end up serving as a hitting coach with the Miami Marlins under manager Don Mattingly in 2016, but was relieved of his duties after just one season.
His feelings of being unwelcome stem partially from never being given another opportunity to coach in the league, but more prominently from his well-executed exclusion from the narrative of the game's history. Although he appears at every year for Giants Spring Training, he's more of an ambassador for the team than an actual mentor to players in the organization.
Bonds did go on to say that he doesn't care about whether or not he gets inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, he implores the BBWAA to either elect him or just take him off the ballot, as his status in Cooperstown is debated on a yearly basis.
Bonds embraced his role as the league's villain during his playing career. But now over 10 years removed from the game, he's looking for some sympathy.