It will not be a ticker-tape parade or a raging party, but after Barry Bonds made history Tuesday with a record-breaking home run, San Francisco will honor the slugger with a celebration, the details of which have yet to be revealed.
“The mayor is committed to honoring Barry Bonds in some significant way and celebrating his accomplishments," said Mayor Gavin Newsom’sspokesman, Nathan Ballard. “First and most importantly, we want to have a party that’s going to be kid-friendly — hot dogs and popcorn — a real family celebration that honors Barry Bonds and his achievements.”
Ballard did not confirm or deny whether The City is planning to give Bonds the key to The City or name a street after him.
Few city officials could remember the last civic celebration for a sports team, but Examiner columnist Glen Dickey said the 49ers were driven down Market Street following their Super Bowl victory in 1982. Dickey said there was a parade when the Giants won the National League pennant in 1962.
Ballard said The City's celebration will be stationary — not a parade — and will take place either at Justin Herman Plaza, Union Square or City Hall sometime in August.
“We've got plenty of confetti left over from the All-Star Game,” Ballard said.
In addition to the celebration, Supervisor Bevan Dufty introduced a resolution Wednesday declaring August 2007 Barry Lamar Bonds month. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush both extended their congratulations Wednesday.
On the Peninsula, Bonds’ home turf, an official said the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is planning a legislative honor for the baseball star to be read at its next meeting next week.
Bonds’ alma mater, Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, issued a statement congratulating the slugger and addressing allegations of his steroid use.
“He has repeatedly denied the knowing use of steroids, and in our country we must respect the fact that the presumption of innocence is a core value and constitutional cornerstone,” principal Lars Lund wrote.
The Giants’ press office was less guarded. “Barry’s remarkable record is the most cherished in baseball history, and is perhaps the greatest achievement in all of professional sports,” the team wrote in a statement.
As a ball sailed, cell phones failed
Fans who wanted to share their historical experiences via cell phone as Giants slugger Barry Bonds passed Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs were frustrated Tuesday night as calls failed on overloaded networks.
Calls were blocked or dropped as cellular circuits jammed in the moments following the historical homer at 8:51 p.m. Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all reported traffic increases between 100 and 200 percent compared with Monday night, when another Giants game ramped up general cell-phone traffic in the area.
“[Tuesday] night, probably every single person in that stadium had a cell phone, and based on what we’re seeing, every single one of them used it,” said Dennis McSweeney, area vice president for Sprint/Nextel, which experienced a brief service interruption due to the high traffic.
Even customers of AT&T, the park’s corporate namesake, experienced some problems getting connected in the minutes just after the homer.
“Whenever you have a major event, people tend to use their phones a lot,” AT&T spokesman Ted Carr said, but he added that the blip was short-lived and localized to the area of the ballpark.
T-Mobile service was affected for 217 seconds following the hit, spokesman Rod De La Rosa said. Traffic on that network roughly doubled from the night before.
Verizon customers also experienced some problems getting connected, but, “it wasn’t a huge problem for us,” spokeswoman Heidi Flato said.
Examiner Staff Writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.