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Bonds a Natural on TV, Too

September 10, 1993|LARRY STEWART

Barry Bonds, who appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno Wednesday night, came across very well.

He was glib, flashed a nice smile and handled himself as if he were a regular on the talk-show circuit.

"Told you I wasn't nervous," he said after returning to his dressing room, seemingly satisfied with his performance.

Bonds seemed to be in a good mood, even though his San Francisco Giants' lead in the National League West is dwindling.

Because the Giants were off Wednesday, he flew to Los Angeles that morning and picked up a $135,000 Ferrari he purchased from a dealer in Woodland Hills.

Nothing like a new Ferrari convertible to pick up one's spirits.


Considering the Giants are in the middle of a heated pennant race, one might wonder why Bonds would agree to a "Tonight Show" appearance at this time.

Bonds' agent, Dennis Gilbert, explained that the appearance was arranged in July, when the Giants had a comfortable lead.

Anyway, by the time Bonds arrived at the NBC studios in Burbank in his flashy new convertible, he had temporarily put the pressures of the pennant race out of his mind. His main concern seemed to be locating some vanilla ice cream.


Leno went into Bonds' dressing room before the show to go over a few things they would talk about.

Later, on the show, Leno threw a curve at Bonds, asking about his relationship with the media, which, as Leno knows, hasn't always been the best.

But Bonds, smiling, laid off that one, saying, "The media has been pretty good to me, especially in San Francisco."

A little later, Leno asked if it was true that Bonds, as a child, was a mama's boy, and Bonds admitted he was.

"You're probably going to ask me about this, too, so I might as well tell you," Bonds said. "I used to imitate Janet Jackson and when we'd do Gladys Knight and the Pips, I was always Gladys."

Said Leno: "Ladies and gentlemen, transsexual ballplayers, on the next 'Geraldo.' "


Leno asked Bonds about his interest in acting, and Bonds, his eyes lighting up, said he plans to pursue it.

He said he has already done a two-hour special, "Jane's House." The HBO show, starring James Woods and Ann Archer, is scheduled to be shown in November. He also appeared in "Rookie of the Year" (in a Pittsburgh Pirate uniform).

Off the air, Bonds said Gilbert is negotiating with Francis Ford Coppola about a role for Bonds in a television movie, "Top of the Ninth," to be shown next year as part of CBS' new "Playhouse Nineties" series.

Maybe there will be politics in Bonds' future as well.

After the "Tonight Show" taping and after stopping at a Studio City deli for a beer and a milkshake--both for himself--Bonds attended a dinner party for Gov. Pete Wilson, held at the Beverly Hills home of Jeff and Gayle Rosenthal.

Rosenthal, who owns TV Fan Fare, a national supermarket advertising company based in Valencia, had invited Gilbert, who in turn invited Bonds.

Bonds fit in well with the elite of Los Angeles, charming the 40 or so guests, willingly posing for pictures and sharing stories with the governor.

Bonds had turned over the Ferrari to his lifelong friend, artist Bob Hoskins of Woodland Hills, who would drive it back to Bonds' home in Atherton. Bonds was going back to San Francisco that night in a private jet.

All in all, it wasn't a bad day off for Bonds.


Baseball woes: The fact that baseball will get less than half as much per season from ESPN, in a six-year deal announced Thursday, is not surprising because the sport has been a financial bust for the cable network.

Baseball isn't doing much better on radio. Also announced Thursday was a $50.5-million, six-year contract with CBS Radio. That replaces a $52-million, four-year deal.


Fight night: The Julio Cesar Chavez-Pernell Whitaker fight tonight at San Antonio, backed by a $10-million promotion, is expected to break all pay-per-view records for a non-heavyweight fight.

Last year's Hector (Macho) Camacho-Chavez fight was seen in 800,000 homes. Tonight's $29.95 show, which begins at 6 p.m. and features Azumah Nelson and Terry Norris in separate undercard bouts, might attract as many as 1 million subscribers.

In the Los Angeles area, 66% of the cable households, or about 1.5 million, will offer the fight. It is also being shown in about 60 closed-circuit, bar-restaurant locations, including Legends in Long Beach, Santa Monica and Costa Mesa.

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