A hopping, hoping Barry Bonds came about 10 feet from fulfilling every fans’ dream Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
The Giants left fielder came up in the bottom of the third inning of the All-Star Game with Jose Reyes on second and none out and lifted a high fly ball to the opposite field that Bonds and the hollering crowd tried to will over the wall. American League left fielder Magglio Ordonez of the Detroit Tigers had to run back to the warning track before reeling it in.
“I hit it pretty good, I thought, but I caught it behind myself,” Bonds said. “I hit it pretty good, but I didn’t hit it good enough.”
A home run would have only added to what the Giants’ superstar already said was an emotional, memorable event. He received the loudest ovation of the night when he was introduced to his home crowd, serenaded by chants of “Bar-ry, Bar-ry.” He also played a central role in the pregame pageantry, helping to guide godfather Willie Mays to shallow center field for the ceremonial first pitch.
“That was outstanding to be able to [walk with Mays] and to have the fans cheer; I can’t thank them enough,” Bonds said. “I cannot ever, ever thank them enough. I’ll never forget it.”
Bonds finished 0-for-2 on the night, flying out against American League starter and A’s ace Dan Haren in the first inning. Haren allowed one run and two hits in two innings pitched, striking out Florida Marlins slugger Miguel Cabrera with a runner on to finish off his first All-Star appearance.
“[I think it will sink in] when I get home and lay down in my bed,” Haren said. “And think back to how great these past two days have been.”
Meanwhile, Bonds, a 14-time All-Star now just four home runs shy of tying Hank Aaron’s all-time mark of 755, said the night will go down as one of the best moments in his illustrious career.
“Well, this is obviously going to be one of the top,” Bonds said. “Because not only is it in San Francisco, my hometown and with the fans that I consider family, but it’s with Willie and it’s possibly the last time that, you know, maybe we’ll ever see that; and, you know, I had the opportunity to walk with him.”
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