|Bonds nearly homers in first at bat at Fenway|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 15 June 2007 14:39|
Moments after Red Sox fans booed him for 45 seconds, Bonds lofted a high drive down the right-field line on a 2-1 pitch. He watched the ball as he started slowly up the baseline. First base umpire Charlie Reliford watched, too, as the ball flew higher than the foul pole.
Then Reliford raised both hands and waved them toward foul territory. Bonds exhaled, smiled and returned to the batter's box.
He took a ball for a full count, then popped out to second baseman Dustin Pedroia in short right field. The Giants ended the top of the first with a 2-0 lead against Julian Tavarez.
Pedroia, who weighs about 60 pounds less than Bonds, left no doubt that his shot in the bottom of the inning would be a homer. His liner off Barry Zito easily cleared the Green Monster in left field, tying the score.
Bonds said he never thought about hitting a ball to the opposite field over the 37-foot high wall.
``I'm not right-handed so I never had that feeling,'' he said during a seven-minute pregame interview in which he smiled and laughed often. ``I never had that thought before.''
Bonds was prepared for the cool reception that accompanies him when San Francisco is on the road. He wasn't quite ready for his first view of the inside of Fenway Park, a Boston landmark he said he drove past in 2004, the year the Red Sox ended an 86-year championship drought.
``I'm trying to see everything,'' he said. ``They said the park looks smaller. This looks bigger than Houston. This looks bigger than Philly. That right field's a long way, but it's nice so far.''
Bonds picked the shortest part of the ballpark to try and draw within seven homers of Hank Aaron's major league record of 755. The right field pole is just 302 feet from home plate but his ball traveled much farther.
Manager Bruce Bochy came out of the dugout to talk with Reliford after the foul call, but Bonds said he doesn't feel anxious about his pursuit of Aaron's record.
``I don't even think about it,'' he said. ``Right now, we just play baseball as a team and try to do what we can as a team. I don't even talk about it.''
The Giants began the three-game series in last place in the NL West, eight games behind first-place San Diego. The last time they played the Red Sox in Fenway Park in non-exhibition games was in the 1912 World Series when they were the New York Giants. Boston won four games to three, clinching it in Fenway.
``Interleague games are great,'' Bonds said. ``If you haven't played a team in their ballpark in such a long period of time I think it brings excitement, so it's pretty cool. It's pretty great for us, too, you know. When would I have ever come here or ever see a game or anything? Probably never, unless I was playing in one, so this is great.''
Even if some fans wore red T-shirts with a big navy blue asterisk on the front. Another, Phil Dunlavy, a Mendon, Mass., police officer, held a poster referring to Bonds' alleged use of illegal substances and proclaiming Aaron as the real home run champion, although he said Bonds deserves to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
Bonds even was booed when he stepped into the cage during batting practice.
``I don't think he really pays a lot of attention to it,'' Bochy said. ``When you've had it as long as he has over his career, he's just used to it. In fact, if they didn't do it, he probably would feel like something's wrong.''
Bonds' second at bat was even more familiar to him. There were the customary boos - and an intentional walk with Randy Winn at second and two outs.
Bonds had an outstanding April with eight homers but had only five since then.
``If I get a couple of hits, I get walked anyway,'' he said.
He takes it all in stride - the frequency of both the intentional walks and the boos.
``I was born in this game,'' the son of former Giants outfielder Bobby Bonds said. ``I've seen a lot of things with my father and I've seen a lot. So I was tough-skinned at an early age. That's the only way I can sum it up.''