SEVEN DOUBLE-NICKEL! Bonds Ties the Record

Barry BondsBy Carol-Ann Rudy

He’s done it—achieved the first of two goals. Barry Bonds tied Henry Aaron’s record 755 career home runs on Saturday night against the San Diego Padres’ pitcher Clay Hensley at Petco Park. It was the Padres’ game that night against the San Francisco Giants, winning 3-2.

The momentous occasion took place in the second inning. Bonds sent the ball about 382 feet to bounce off an advertising board. It landed at the feet of 33-year-old plumber Adam Hughes in the first row of the left field seats who said all he had to do was bend over and pick it up. Although a Padres fan, he has been rooting for Bonds. The crowd was Bonds’ crowd that night, cheering and giving him a standing ovation as he ran the bases.

Commissioner Bud Selig was there, but stood with his hands at his side, a mute response that may reflect his reservations about the accusations of steroid use that continue to haunt Bonds. However, in an issued statement he said, “Congratulations to Barry Bonds as he ties Major League Baseball’s home run record. No matter what anybody thinks of the controversy surrounding this event, Mr. Bonds’ achievement is noteworthy and remarkable.”

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Next: Breaking the record, our prediction.

This week, the Giants play the Washington Nationals beginning tonight at 7:15 PDT, the opening of a four-game series. Left-hander John Lannan will pitch, an unknown quantity to Bonds. This will be followed by a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It will be televised on ESPN2.

Our prediction? Bonds may break the record in any of the four games against the Nationals this week, but the tie-breaker will most likely occur this Friday, August 10th, against pitcher Matt Morris of the Pirates, all in the Giants’ home park. Whether he’ll hang up his bat and retire at that point is anybody’s guess: Bonds isn’t telling.