The future home run king feels for fans who don’t know him.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Barry Bonds simply doesn’t care: Bud Selig can be wherever he wants when Hank Aaron’s home run record falls.
The commissioner still hasn’t said whether he plans to be in the ballpark when and if Bonds hits No. 756. Selig’s indecision has drawn a lot of criticism. Oddly, he finds himself with an unusual ally in this matter — Bonds.
“Does it matter to me? I think it’s just terrible the way it’s gone down, that’s all,” the San Francisco slugger said Monday, a day before the All-Star game.
“That’s up to Bud, it’s not up to me. I’m going to do my thing anyway. I have to go out and play for my teammates. That’s up to Bud. Bud is his own man. And I respect him. Whether Bud shows up or doesn’t show up, I’m going to still play baseball that day,” he said.
Four to tie
Bonds has 751 homers, four short of matching Aaron. The Hammer has made it clear that he won’t attend the milestone and Bonds doesn’t blame him.
“No one can determine when that’s going to happen, and Hank has a life, too,” Bonds said. “You could go weeks. You expect this man to just travel all over this continent for weeks?
“It’s just not fair to him. That’s just all it’s about. If you can predict what you’re going to do and he can get there and like OK, bam, it’s going to be this day and this time, that’s a different scenario.
“Hank’s a great ballplayer. He’s the home run king. He will always be the home run king in our hearts. We respect him. We love him. Hank, if you want to stay home, stay home, brother,” he said.
The 42-year-old Bonds earned a starting spot for tonight’s game in his home ballpark. It was Bonds’ 14th All-Star selection and first in three years.
Bonds had a big bash with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z planned for Monday night regardless of whether he’d been picked for the team.
“It’s a dream. You dream about going to a World Series,” Bonds said. “I had that opportunity and unfortunately we lost. I’ve seen All-Star games in everyone else’s city.
“To be able to have it in your own city is great. I want a ring and to win, but if it doesn’t happen I’ve had the opportunity to experience it. Then I’ve had the opportunity to experience this at home.
“I’ve pretty much had the opportunity to experience almost everything you can actually experience in the game of baseball. And I’ve also had the opportunity to experience it with one of the greatest baseball players to ever live in Willie Mays, and I had to be with him my entire life. I’ve lived a dream my whole entire life regardless of what anybody says.”
One per week
Bonds has been hitting about one homer a week recently after connecting for 11 homers by early May. He has 17 this year and only six since getting his 745th off the Mets’ Tom Glavine May 8.
NL manager Tony La Russa of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals will bat Bonds in the second spot, rather than his usual cleanup slot.
The Giants completed a three-game series in St. Louis Sunday at Busch Stadium, and La Russa discussed his plan with Bonds there.
“I was really worried about not having a chance to talk to him and he would find out from somebody that he’s hitting second. I wanted to tell him myself,” La Russa said. “I usually don’t talk to the visiting guys too much but I was talking to Bruce [Giants manager Bochy] during BP and I saw Barry and so I had a conversation with him.
“I let him know, as I mentioned, you know, damage in that second spot is something that I’ve always thought made sense.”
St. Louis blues
Bonds was jeered in St. Louis, as he is in opposing ballparks. Fans often hold up signs reading “CHEATER” or “Barroid” or placards showing an asterisk, suggesting Bonds’ accomplishments are tainted because of steroids allegations.
“I’m not treated bad on the road,” he said. “My thing is that I feel disappointed in some of those fans that were influenced by a third-party judgment and have not [taken] the opportunity just to know me.
“People in San Francisco know me. The fans here know me. Fans outside the city only get to see me three days. To judge me based on a third party, that is what disappoints me ... when actually I’ve done nothing wrong to you,” he said.
Some of Bonds’ All-Star colleagues took time Monday to defend him.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” Minnesota outfielder Torii Hunter said. “He hasn’t been found guilty of anything. If you find something on him, then I’ll be right there with you guys. But you haven’t found anything. Hank Aaron should be there. Bud Selig should be there. This is big. They should celebrate it.”