Former Giant slugger, 50, is prepared to give back to the community what he learned at an early age.
Barry Bonds remembers fondly the times in his childhood when his father Bobby and godfather Willie Mays would step in the batting cage and demonstrate the proper way to hit a baseball.
Nearly a decade removed from his prolific playing career that included seven MVP awards and a record 762 career home runs, it is safe to say that Bonds took full advantage of being born into baseball royalty.
Now 50, Bonds is ready to give back by sharing his vast knowledge and experience with kids who may not have grown up with an All-Star father or Hall of Fame godfather to show them the ropes.
Next month, Bonds will conduct a three-day baseball skills camp from June 22 to June 24 at College of Marin in Kentfield in collaboration with longtime friend and college roommate Charles Scott, a local legend in Marin.
Scott, who followed an outstanding high school career at Terra Linda in the 80s with a stint alongside Bonds at Arizona State, is the founder and director of Future Prospects Baseball Academy, which has three facilities throughout the state and 16 different travel teams that serve kids from elementary school through college.
“I was raised here, I was an MLB player here, I have great friends here with baseball backgrounds and knowledge, and we want to give that back to the Bay Area,” said Bonds in an interview at the Future Prospects facility in San Rafael, where he regularly works out.
Bonds and Scott said they both came up with the idea to do the camp together, but they wanted to make sure it would provide good value for those who pay the $600 fee. The camp will be capped at 60 kids, ages 10-14.
Bonds will be present and in uniform for the entirety of the camp, which Scott called “unprecedented.” Citing his pre-existing chemistry with Scott, Bonds ensured that the two will be on the same page and run the camp smoothly throughout.
They added that although they will provide campers with invaluable lessons and baseball skills, their primary focus is to provide kids with an enjoyable experience.
“Barry makes the game fun. He is a normal person who likes to laugh and have fun and joke around, and he loves kids just like the rest of us,” Scott said.
Bonds and Scott said they are glad that they can do camps like this now while they are still in shape.
“We’re not two old guys sitting on a bucket just telling you what to do,” Scott said.
“I like showing how to do things, because that’s what my dad did for me. We can still show you, but you better take advantage of me now, because pretty soon I’m going to be on that bucket,” Bonds joked.
Moving forward, Bonds and Scott said they would love to be able to hold similar camps throughout the Bay Area, but they wanted to start out small to ensure the camp would be of high quality.
“This is where we’re starting. If we bring value to the table, then the kids will tell their friends and the program will expand itself,” Bonds said.
The camp will run each day from 10 am to 3 pm at the College of Marin baseball field. In addition to Bonds and Scott, the camp will include up to eight more Future Prospects coaches, all of whom have professional experience or training.
Scott said he is currently in the process of spreading the word about the camp, and he expects the limited spots to fill quickly.
Though the future may hold more camps that feature the all-time great, Scott is focused on presenting the current opportunity for local youth to learn from one of the best to ever play.
“I’m blessed to have such a good friend that will help,” Scott said. “Superstars don’t do what he’s doing.”
For more information or to register, call Future Prospects Baseball at (415) 459-4109 or visit futureprospectsbaseball.com. Registration is online only.
Jake Thomer | marinscope.com | June 3, 2015