Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Barry Bonds blasts HR #756, breaks Hank Aaron's record

Barry Bonds has just broken Hank Aaron's home run record. From YouTube:

Here's the story on it from The San Francisco Chronicle:

There's a new home run champion of all time, and it's Barry Bonds.

Is he the greatest home run hitter of all time? All who cherish this game will have to search their hearts and answer that question in their own way. But the number is not open to debate, dispute, praise or scorn. The major-league record is 756, and Bonds owns it.

He broke his three-day-old tie with Henry Aaron in the fifth inning of the Giants' 8-6 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night. With one out and nobody on base in a 4-4 game, Bonds hammered a 3-2 pitch from left-hander Mike Bacsik into the bleachers to the right of straightaway center field.

Bonds hoped to set the record at home, in front of fans who love him unconditionally, just like most of his other milestone home runs. To the surprise of nobody, it happened exactly that way in front of 43,154 people.

Lest anyone doubt how Bonds feels about this record, amid a loud chorus of criticism that he achieved it using performance-enhancing drugs, he explained his feelings forcefully and concisely during his postgame news conference.

"This record is not tainted at all, at all, period," Bonds said. "You guys can say whatever you want."

Bonds knew he had the record as soon as he connected. When the ball soared into a cool but fogless summer night, he immediately raised both hands and watched it fly over the fence, and clapped as it landed in the seats, 435 feet from home plate. As he trotted around the bases, a "756" banner was unfurled on one side of the giant scoreboard in center field. Another banner depicting Bonds was dropped from the opposite side.

After he reached home plate and greeted his son, Nikolai, Bonds pointed to the sky with both arms, a tribute to his late father, Bobby. Then he thanked the raucous crowd, bowing and blowing kisses as fireworks shot from the top of the scoreboard.

The game was delayed 10 minutes to allow Bonds to greet his family, teammates and godfather Willie Mays, and for a short ceremony.

In a remarkable moment, the Giants asked everyone to turn their attention to the scoreboard for a video tribute, similar to those by Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali on earlier nights. The crowd had to be stunned to see the face of Aaron, who has spurned Bonds throughout this chase, saying he wanted to be anywhere but in the ballpark when Bonds broke his record.

Aaron congratulated Bonds and said, in part, "I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historical achievement. My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams."

Bonds seemed touched and pointed toward the screen. Later, Bonds was asked what Aaron's message meant to him. He said, "It meant everything. It meant absolutely everything. ... We all have a lot of respect for him from everyone in the game. Right now, everything's just hitting me so fast I'm lost for words again. It was absolutely the best, absolutely the best."

In the last archway along the right-field wall, where the homer totals of Bonds, Aaron, Babe Ruth and Mays have been listed for the last several years, the "1" that had marked Aaron's nameplate was replaced by "2," and Bonds' went from "2" to "1."

Aaron established his record by surpassing Ruth on April 8, 1974, and held it for 12,173 days, sharing it with Bonds for the last three.

Long live the King!

No comments: