An age of bewilderment

Kevin Frandsen remembers what it was like growing up a Giants fan in Los Gatos and how it was “Barry this, Barry that” with his buddies all the time.

He was a star infielder at Bellarmine College Prep then, an All-State selection as a senior who would move on to San Jose State and set the school record for most career hits. But even though he was drafted by San Francisco in the 12th round of the 2004 draft and has never stopped hitting, the Giants’ infielder sometimes finds it hard to believe he is playing a complementary role in his boyhood idol’s pursuit of Hank Aaron’s all-time home run mark. Bonds has 753 career homers, just two shy of the record.

“That’s the most surreal thing,” Frandsen said. “My buddies and I grew up loving him and talking about him all the time. And now I can say I was in the lineup for when he hit 715 to pass Babe Ruth’s record and maybe for when he breaks [the all-time mark]. I’m pretty lucky.”

Frandsen is one of several Giants in their early to mid-20s now contributing for the team and all have played well in varying roles while dealing with the intense media scrutiny Bonds’ chase has created.

Frandsen, 25, is hitting .238 in 62 games with the Giants after going 0-for-3 and starting at shortstop against Atlanta. He started the season batting .403 in 19 games at Triple-A Fresno. Outfielder Fred Lewis, 26, has already clubbed two grand slams this season and is hitting .273 with three homers and 16 RBIs while occasionally spelling Bonds in left, which he did Wednesday, going 1-for-2. Relief pitcher Randy Messenger, 25, has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances and is 0-1 with a 1.07 ERA since arriving from Florida on May 31 in the Armando Benitez trade. And starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, 23, has shown the potential to be a future ace since arriving from Fresno, going 5-2 with a 3.96 ERA and striking out 95 in 86¹/³ innings pitched while performing in front of the media mob.

“Occasionally, someone will make a joke about how there’s more writers in [the locker room] looking for a story then there are players,” Lincecum said. “But it’s funny — Barry’s been chasing the record since I’ve been up here. So I’m more familiar with having [a lot of media] than not. And it’s a great story.”

Frandsen said the special excitement of watching a Bonds at-bat has yet to lose its luster.

“He’s the one guy that makes anyone stop what they’re doing and watch TV because you want to see him hit,” Frandsen said. “And I think he feels that too because he’s so confident every time he goes up there.”

But despite the thrill of the chase, Frandsen said he is hoping the last-place Giants can add to the charged atmosphere at AT&T Park by winning more games.

“Being from the Bay Area and being a Giants fan, I’m used to seeing a lot of wins,” Frandsen said. “So coming up, I wanted it to be all slapping hands in the middle of the field after wins and hopefully we can start doing that more.”

melliser@examiner.com


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