ATLANTA (AP) -Hank Aaron's team paid tribute to baseball's new home run king Tuesday night, though the Hammer wasn't at Turner Field to congratulate Barry Bonds in person.
Before the opener of a three-game series against the Giants, the Braves replayed the videotaped message from Aaron that was shown in San Francisco last week after Bonds hit his 756th homer.
Aaron, a senior vice president with the Braves, was not at the game. The team said he headed out of town Tuesday and would not return to Atlanta until after the series.
Bonds watched Aaron's tribute from the dugout and waved to the crowd when he was shown on the giant video board in center field.
But the new record holder got a mixed reception from Braves' fans, many of whom still consider Aaron's 755 homers to be the legitimate mark because of allegations that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.
As Bonds trotted out to left field in the bottom half of the first, several fans held up signs deriding his accomplishment.
``Bonds who?'' one of them said.
``I guess cheats do win,'' said another.
But some fans gave Bonds a standing ovation, and he acknowledged the smattering of cheers by tipping his cap.
One man brought out a sign that said simply, ``Thank you Barry.''
The 43-year-old Bonds came into the game with 758 homers and said he hopes to play at least one more season. That would give him a shot at 3,000 hits and a chance to put a little distance on home run pursuers such as Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, who recently hit the 500th of his career and is far ahead of Bonds' pace at the same age.
Before the game, Bonds stretched out on a leather couch in the visiting clubhouse, seemingly oblivious to a television show playing right in front of him. The subject: Where will he be playing in 2008?
Bonds declined to speak with reporters, sending word through a Giants spokesman that he was tired of talking after doing several interviews during a previous series in Pittsburgh.
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