Record crowd gazes at stars in S.F.

With rain clouds looming overhead, Tuesday night’s crowd at the All-Star Game brought the traditional electric vibe to AT&T Park while applauding the game’s stars, especially Barry Bonds.

A crowd of 43,965, the largest in AT&T Park history, lined the stadium’s rims along the top deck and its back rows, standing in any position possible, even grabbing a seat on top of a garbage can to catch a glimpse of the game.

Among the fans were comedian Dane Cook, actress Alyssa Milano and activist and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson.

Boats, kayaks and canoes —though not nearly as many for the Home Run Derby on a sunny Monday — again drifted in McCovey Cove, waiting for a dinger to come their way.

They watched as the local superstar, Giants left fielder Barry Bonds, and the rest of the All-Stars honored baseball great Willie Mays before the game. Fans gave Bonds a loud ovation when he was announced as a starter.

They also witnessed something never seen before in All-Star Game history when Seattle Mariners center fielder Ichiro Suzuki hit an inside-the-park home run when the ball bounced away from Ken Griffey Jr., who won several Gold Gloves when he was the Mariners’ center fielder.

And fans seemed a little perplexed by the choice of singer Paula Cole to perform “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch, but rebounded after she yelled a loud “Giants!” during a solid rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

But despite fans’ support, Bonds could only fly out twice, once to right field in the first inning and to the warning track in left during the third.

“Barry Bonds did his pop tart, but we still love him,” said Mitch Williams, a resident of Sonoma County but of no relation to the “Wild Thing” of the same name who once pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Williams and his friend Karla Santellan, both Giants fans, were enjoying a cigarette and a drink on the view level after the first inning, a time that also saw a 10-person-deep line snaking from the men’s bathroom.

“I got my tickets three years ago just because of this,” Santellan said of the All-Star Game. “It’s been worth it.”

Buddies Eric Nazionale, 19, and Dan Sciarretta, 18, trekked from Benicia after paying $275 for a sheet of standing-room-only tickets to the All-Star events. They found a garbage can in deep center behind the last row of bleachers to view the game.

Asked about the crowd, Nazionale said, “Just like a Giants game — same level of electricity.”

dsmith@examiner.com


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