|Giants unconcerned with Selig's agenda for home run chase|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 03 July 2007 13:32|
``Does it matter to anybody here if he's there? Probably not. I don't think Barry cares,'' infielder Rich Aurilia said Tuesday, when Bonds and the Giants began a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.
Selig hasn't publicly stated whether he would attend a potential record-breaking game involving Bonds. The slugger's pursuit of Hank Aaron - Selig's good friend - was allegedly fueled by steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds said he has no idea whether Selig will be in the stands when he passes Hammerin' Hank's mark of 755.
``I never have thought about it,'' Bonds said.
For the fans who arrived early Tuesday, Bonds put on a show in batting practice.
He hit two in a row out, including a towering shot that traveled to the 585 sign charting Ken Griffey Jr.'s home run total in right-center. Bonds later hit another almost to the top of the stands in right field.
The fans booed Bonds heavily when he was introduced before the first pitch.
He is likely to play again in Wednesday afternoon's July 4 game, then a night game Thursday. Bonds dozed off in a clubhouse chair before Tuesday's game and said he felt great aside from some allergies that were bothering him.
Bonds, who turns 43 on July 24, was batting .304 with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs heading into Tuesday's game. He has also walked 84 times, 29 of those intentionally.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy has repeatedly said his club will enjoy the moment when and if Bonds becomes the new home run king, but ultimately the Giants must find a way to play better baseball and win more games. They are in last place in the NL West.
``It's not something we're thinking about or talking about,'' Bochy said of Selig's choice. ``It's going to be a huge moment in baseball. Any time we can promote our sport, we should. I'm not going to think about whether our commissioner is there or not. It's up to him and the schedule.''
Bonds opted against doing his standard media session on the first day in a road city, leaving some of the local contingent frustrated not to have a sound bite from the seven-time NL MVP. But Bonds does things on his agenda - that hasn't changed, even as he's become more approachable in his 22nd major league season.
He is slated to start in left field for the National League in the All-Star game July 10 in San Francisco after making up more than 119,000 votes in the final days - getting 1,111,968 additional votes - to finish with 2,325,391 and ahead of Cubs star Alfonso Soriano.
``I have 2 million friends I didn't think I had,'' Bonds said Tuesday.
Tuesday's game featured Bonds, Griffey and the 1,335 home runs between them: Bonds with 750 and Junior at 585. It marked the greatest homers total between two players entering a game since Cleveland played at Milwaukee on Aug. 1, 1976 and featured 1,341 homers between Frank Robinson (586) and Aaron (755), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
But the top game came on July 17, 1973, when the Mets played at Atlanta. Willie Mays - Bonds' godfather - and Aaron entered with a combined 1,355 homers. Aaron then homered in that game to bring the total to 1,356.
Did Bonds think the stat with him and Griffey was special? Not really. He will play alongside Griffey next week in the All-Star game, too.
``I've played with him before,'' Bonds said. ``How old is he - (37)? He has a lot of years left. He's never had an All-Star game in his town. Cal (Ripken Jr.) had one. Tony Gwynn never had one.''