SAN DIEGO -- When it was over and Barry Bonds had crossed the plate with his 755th home run and he was hugging his son and kissing his wife and pounding on teammates' chests, the scoreboard at Petco Park showed the updated list of baseball's all-time home run hitters:
1. Hank Aaron 755
1. Barry Bonds 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
|Barry Bonds' 755th homer is greeted by mostly cheers -- and some boos, of course. (Getty Images)|
The San Diego Padres didn't go all gooey Saturday night and stop the game after Bonds hit No. 755 in the second inning. There was no on-field ceremony, no speech, no special sign or banner unfurled. No gesture from idiot commissioner Bud Selig, whose self-described "Herculean effort" allowed him to be on hand for the record-tying home run, which he watched with a stupidly neutral expression.
But the moment was handled with as much class as could have been expected considering Bonds pulled even with Aaron on the road, where he has not been well received since the BALCO steroids scandal first broke before the 2004 season. Earlier this week in Los Angeles he was vilified at Dodger Stadium by fans waving giant asterisks -- denoting their disrespect for his coming record -- and chanting various steroid-related themes.
Saturday night started with that sort of atmosphere, too. The crowd of more than 40,000 booed Bonds' name during pregame introductions and booed his face when he showed up in the on-deck circle in the top of the first and when he trotted out to left field for the bottom of the first. The crowd booed some more when he walked to the plate to lead off the second inning, but when Bonds drove Clay Hensley's 2-1 pitch off the upper-deck façade in left field, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Boos? Sure, there were some boos. But the fans at Petco Park seemed happier to have witnessed history than angry at the man who had made history happen. The noise sounded like about 80 percent cheers leavened by 20 percent boos.
Bonds looked oblivious. His 755th home run was so well struck that he was able to watch it go from the batter's box. When it hit the upper deck facing and bounced down into the crowd, triggering a piranha-like frenzy for the loose lottery ticket, Bonds emphatically pumped his fist and trotted bouncily around the bases.
His son, Nikolai, a 17-year-old bat boy for the Giants, was waiting at the plate, where he was greeted with a bear hug. Bonds carried his son several feet, then put him down to be congratulated by teammates and manager Bruce Bochy. Then he walked to the netting behind the plate, where his wife and daughter had been sitting two rows back, to kiss them.
The scoreboard showed Bonds even with Aaron. No asterisks up there, though a handful of fans in left field waved asterisks. Still, when the half-inning ended and the Giants took the field for bottom of the second, the crowd gave Bonds another standing ovation.