The commissioner says he’ll play it by ear if he sees Barry break the record.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bud Selig still hasn’t made out his lineup card for Barry Bonds.
With Bonds only five home runs from breaking Hank Aaron’s career mark, the commissioner was adamant Tuesday that he hadn’t decided whether to attend the record-breaker.
“All of this will have to be played by ear,” Selig said. “I do have a day job.”
Bonds entered the All-Star break with 751 homers. After hitting 11 home runs in his first 76 at-bats, Bonds has just six his last 131.
Will attend some games
Many baseball executives have speculated in recent weeks that Selig ultimately will go to some games when Bonds nears the record. The commissioner said there’s no plan in place, either way.
“None. Zero. I said I’d do it at the appropriate time, and I’ll determine what the appropriate time is,” he said during a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America prior to the All-Star game. “I’m just going to handle it in my own way and hope that that is appropriate.”
Back in 1974, commissioner Bowie Kuhn was criticized when he wasn’t at the ballpark in Atlanta for Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run. Kuhn did attend the opening-day game in Cincinnati when Aaron hit No. 714 to tie Babe Ruth.
Kuhn ordered Aaron to play
After the Braves rested Aaron the following game, hoping Aaron would set the record back in Atlanta, Kuhn ordered the team to play him in the series finale against the Reds.
Selig didn’t think there would be a similar issue with the Giants and Bonds.
“I hope everybody uses their good judgment, and I trust they will,” he said. “Clubs are in pennant races right now. I would hope that certainly is the overriding issue and the overriding determining factor. You want to try to win every game and play your best team.’
Bonds frequently has taken off day games after night games. That won’t be a problem with Selig.
“When you hit 42 and 43, that’s certainly understandable,” he said.