Visit to McCarthy's Hometown...........Kenny Mayne

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bonds 2 Away from Tying Aaron, Comes to Milwaukee

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has indicated he wants Bonds to break the record at home, if possible. After the series against the Brewers, San Francisco returns to AT&T Park for a seven-game home stand against Atlanta and Florida.

So, if Bonds hits two homers tonight to catch Aaron, might he sit out the rest of the series?
"They'd probably (sit Bonds down) if that happens," said Yost. "We'll see what happens. I can't worry about that."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who repeatedly has declined to say if he plans to be on hand when Bonds breaks the record, is in town this weekend. But, reached at his downtown office late Thursday afternoon, Selig would not say whether he'll be at Miller Park for the series.

"I know what I'll do but I just don't want to comment now, for a lot of reasons," said Selig, who maintains a private suite at the ballpark.

Those who know Selig believe he has not committed to being on hand for the record-breaker because of the ongoing grand jury investigation into possible perjury charges against Bonds for his testimony in the BALCO steroids scandal.

Later in the day, news came out of San Francisco that the grand jury term was extended for a second time, meaning Bonds is not in the clear yet.

The chances of Bonds catching Aaron this weekend appeared slim when the day began.

He was in one of the worst slumps of his career - a 0 for 21 skid - and had not homered since July 3 in Cincinnati. Citing sore legs, Bonds did not start the first three games of the series against the Cubs, limiting his action to one pinch-hit appearance.

But the Cubs awakened a sleeping Giant in the series finale. In his first at-bat, Bonds drove a pitch from lefty Ted Lilly over the right-field bleachers and onto Sheffield Ave., despite a breeze blowing in from that direction.

Bonds later added a two-run single off Lilly before completing his six-RBI performance with a three-run homer off reliever Will Ohman in the seventh inning.

It was 31 years ago today that Aaron hit his 755th home run while playing his second season for the Brewers and the last of his career. The shot off California's Dick Drago at County Stadium recently was commemorated with a plaque in the parking lot of Miller Park at the approximate location of its landing.

Bonds, who will turn 43 on Tuesday, began the season 22 home runs shy of passing Aaron, but cooled off after a fast start, and his pace dropped off dramatically. He declined an offer to participate in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in his home park, saying it would take too much out of him at his age.

Then came the 0 for 21 drought, which ended in dramatic fashion at Wrigley.
"It was only a matter of time," said Brewers catcher Damian Miller. "He's not going to stay in a slump forever. It just proves he's still somewhat human."

The Brewers already were expecting full houses for all three games, but the atmosphere should be even more electric now that Bonds is close to Aaron's hallowed record. Miller noted the incongruous behavior of fans toward Bonds, booing him when he comes to bat yet jockeying for position in the outfield stands in the event he goes deep.

"The fans boo him, but they're also first in line for his autograph," said Miller. "And they all want that baseball. They're booing him on the way to home plate and as soon as he steps in the box, (camera) flashes go off throughout the stadium. That doesn't really make sense."

For more on Bonds click here for Tom Haudricourt's article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

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