Reaction varies in baseball world
Barry Bonds’ record-breaking homer was met with mostly boos when it was announced at three other ballparks Tuesday night, a familiar reaction to the achievements of the San Francisco Giants slugger.
Players were more impressed with Bonds’ 756 career homers ” and some relieved. Arizona’s Orlando Hudson applauded from his second base position when the big screen in Phoenix showed Bonds’ drive.
“That’s great, that’s unbelievable,” Hudson said. “I can’t wait to see him and give him a big ol’ hug because he deserves it. He’s the greatest player to walk between the lines.”
Milwaukee reliever Scott Linebrink was just glad it wasn’t him on the mound for the historic shot.
“In reality, it doesn’t really matter if you gave up 300 or 756, but it is the stigma that will always follow one guy,” Linebrink said.
Other sluggers marveled at Bonds.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment ” that’s a lot of home runs,” said Colorado’s Todd Helton, who went deep twice in the Rockies’ 6-3 win over Milwaukee.
The homer drew praise from officials in and outside of the game. Baseball union head Donald Fehr called it “truly one of those moments that all fans will remember.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who visited with Bonds in July in Chicago, offered his congratulations.
“He has survived!” Jackson said in a statement. “He remains the most feared batter with the most home runs and the most walks. I know his father rejoices tonight.”
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has decked out City Hall with orange lights and a banner with Bonds’ home run count since No. 753, said he planned to declare Wednesday Barry Bonds Day in the city.
“We are honored to have witnessed his incredible accomplishment here at home in San Francisco,” the mayor said in a statement.
Commissioner Bud Selig was on hand for the tying homer three days earlier but missed the record-breaker. Major League Baseball executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson attended the game in his absence.
Only three games were still going on when Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s storied record with a drive in the fifth inning against Washington pitcher Mike Bacsik in San Francisco. Bonds connected on a 3-2 pitch for a solo shot in the Giants’ 8-6 loss.
Aaron offered a taped message of congratulations that played on the stadium’s videoboard.
News of Bonds’ drive quickly reached Southern California, where a replay of the homer was shown on the videoboards in right and left field in Anaheim after the final out of the fifth inning. The sellout crowd of 44,177 booed loudly.
“I have no comment,” said Boston’s Curt Schilling, who earlier this summer said Bonds’ refusal to address accusations of steroids use is tantamount to an admission. “None whatsoever.”
Fans at Coors Field in Denver booed mostly as they watched Bonds round the bases between innings and quickly turned their attention to the top of the ninth.
“I’m indifferent,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “My home run chase was Hank Aaron and the Babe. I’ll congratulate him professionally, but that’s about it for me.”
When the home run was shown on the big screen over center field in Arizona, a smattering of applause was drowned out by resounding boos from most of the crowd of 25,340 at Chase Field.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds said after St. Louis’ 4-0 loss to San Diego. “I think it’s good for baseball and I just think it’s a pretty neat thing.”
In the visiting clubhouse at Busch Stadium, the Padres also were glad for Bonds.
“I think it was great,” outfielder Scott Hairston said. “It was great to witness history. I kind of got teary-eyed myself when he was giving the speech (afterward). He pointed up at the sky and said thank you to his dad. It was a great moment.”
A seven-time NL MVP, the 43-year-old Bonds hit his 22nd home run of the year. He has been hounded by allegations of steroid use but remains popular at home, where the record-breaker was met with wild cheers.
Edmonds said he was pulling for him.
“Like people say, this is a fraternity and some of these guys have let that slip,” he said. “I think that we should pull for each other. He’s always been very polite to me, so I can’t complain.”