Bonds' big night failed to materialize -- but that's OK
Posted: Wednesday July 11, 2007 1:47AM; Updated: Wednesday July 11, 2007 2:30AM
SAN FRANCISCO -- This was supposed to be the Barry Bonds All-Star Game. Everything was perfectly in place for it. The lights. The setting. The annoying, overwrought, over-orchestrated soundtrack. The fawning audience just waiting for the "Applause!" sign. At the start of the game, there was even a touching tribute to Bonds' godfather, Willie Mays, to get the old tear ducts working. This one was supposed to count for Bonds and for all his Bay Area supporters. And for the National League, too.
Instead, Tuesday night's All-Star Game turned into, for a brief time, the Ken Griffey Jr. Show, and then it became the Ichiro Hour, and the New York Mets took over for awhile, and somewhere in there, Carl Crawford and Victor Martinez each got in one good swing apiece. In the end, the Barry Bonds All-Star Game morphed into a tense bases-loaded, bottom-of-the-ninth showdown and another goofy win by the American League, 5-4. Which isn't the way this thing was scripted out at all.
"No way," said Bonds when, as he got up from the podium after a mid-game meet with the media, someone pointed out that Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki had just lined a two-run, inside-the-park homer off the wall in right centerfield -- the first inside-the-parker in All-Star Game history -- to give the AL the early lead.
Well ... "Way," as Garth used to say. This was set up to be Barry's World, all right, but almost from the start of All-Star Week here, things turned a tad counter-clockwise for the soon-to-be home run champ. When Bonds opted out of the Home Run Derby on Monday night, he stole any real chance the crowd had of seeing that AT&T special, the McCovey Cove home run dunk. Everyone in the Derby was oh-for-Cove Monday night. Bonds, king of the Cove, could have made a huge difference in that little exhibition.
Still, when Tuesday rolled around, Bonds received the loving ovations that everyone expected from his home crowd -- throat-roaring, feet-stomping, fist-shaking ones, inside and outside of the park -- and when he walked in from centerfield on the heels of his godfather, Mays, through a gauntlet of applauding All-Star players before the game, it was a quintessentially San Francisco treat. "That was outstanding, to be able to do that and to have the fans cheer," Bonds said. "I can't thank them enough. I cannot ever, ever thank them enough. I'll never forget it."
Unfortunately for all those Bay Area fans, that pre-game ceremony was about the high point of the night for Bonds. He popped up to short right field in the first inning with a man on second. In the third, with that same man on second (the Mets' Jose Reyes), Bonds lofted a high fly to left field, doing a kind of Carlton Fisk/Sammy Sosa turn-and-hop to try to urge it out. The ball made it only as far as the warning track, though, and Bonds' night was done.