T Park as Barry Bonds' record-breaking homer rocketed toward the crowd.
Then the scrum was on.
As the specially marked baseball landed a few rows up, dozens of fans wrestled for it and the promise of riches it carried. Suddenly, the metal bleachers vibrated with energy. Grunts, cheers and the cries of frightened children broke the silence as parents sought to shield their youngsters from the chaos.
In the middle of it all was 22-year-old Matt Murphy, who emerged from beneath the pile holding the ball Bonds hit for career home run No. 756. His face was bloodied and his clothes stretched and torn from his battle in the bleachers.
A team of San Francisco police officers moved in, extracted Murphy from the crowd, and quickly led him through a tunnel and into a secure room.
As he high-fived other fans, Murphy, wearing a New York Mets jersey, slid the ball into the back pocket of his plaid Bermuda shorts.
Reporters screamed out questions, but all he managed to say was, ``I'm Matt Murphy from Queens, N.Y.''
The Giants announced in the press box that Murphy was visiting San Francisco while on his way to Australia with a friend. Murphy declined to make himself available to the media.
Baseball memorabilia experts have pegged the ball's value at $400,000 to $500,000. That's well below the $3 million fetched by the ball Mark McGwire hit to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record in 1998, but still a hefty sum.
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