SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds' new television show didn't shy away from the steroid allegations.
"Bonds on Bonds" debuted Tuesday night on ESPN2, opening with footage of fans booing, a syringe being thrown at the San Francisco Giants' slugger and announcers discussing the steroid allegations on opening day in San Diego.
"If it makes them happy to go out of their way to destroy me or whatever they want to try to do, go right ahead. It doesn't bother me," Bonds said. "You can't hurt me anymore than you've already hurt me. You can't hurt my family anymore than you've already hurt them."
Bonds then went on, tearing up at one point.
"They can take me down. I don't really care," he said. "I never cared. Baseball, if they want to take me down, go right ahead take it. Anyone who ever knows me knows ... I don't care. But there's so many other people who depend on me to stay strong."
Bonds, who has faced questions about steroid use for years, is under new pressure this year following last month's release of "Game of Shadows," which detailed allegations that he used steroids for at least five seasons.
The book contributed to commissioner Bud Selig's decision to announce an investigation into past steroid use in the game.
While the show aired on ESPN2, Bonds was on a couch in the Giants' clubhouse in San Diego, while three other baseball games and the NCAA women's basketball championship were on the TVs. Bonds said he thought the show was on later at night and said he'd watch the DVD when he got a chance.
Giants manager Felipe Alou flipped through the channels in his office while talking to reporters before the game, stumbling across women in a hot tub on MTV2 before putting the show on for a few minutes.
"I don't see Barry there," Alou said when he saw the hot tub. "What is that? It's pretty good."
Bonds said he was amazed at the number of reporters following him after excerpts from "Game of Shadows" were released, and compared the racist hate mail he receives to what Hank Aaron went through when he broke Babe Ruth's career home run record in 1974.
He entered the season with 708 home runs, seven shy of passing Ruth for second place all-time and 48 away from breaking Aaron's career record.
The show, put together by Tollin/Roberts Productions and ESPN Original Entertainment, has received criticism from people within and outside ESPN for its relationship with a player the network covers.
It featured interviews with reporters who have covered Bonds, including ESPN's Peter Gammons. Bonds talked about how his relationship with the media has always been "rocky" — but that it motivates him.
There was also footage of Bonds' interaction with the media, archival video of Bonds dating to his college days at Arizona State, interviews with other players and his former manager, Dusty Baker.
The show also showed Bonds away from the ballpark, cleaning up the mess from a broken pipe from his fish tank in Arizona, often cursing and reading an article about the 10 most hated athletes in sports.
Bonds questioned that he only finished second on the list, behind NFL bad boy Terrell Owens.
"How did he get in front of me?" Bonds asked.