Big day brewing in baseball
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Barry Bonds tries again to tie Hank Aaron’s 755. A-Rod chases his 500th home run. Tom Glavine goes for career victory No. 300.
Tuesday could be one of baseball’s biggest milestone nights ” and there’s the craziness of the trading deadline, too.
It would be quite a memorable night if Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Glavine all make history within a matter of hours. From Chavez Ravine to the Bronx and Brew City, it’s going to be a fun night.
“I’d like to see everyone do it,” said the Giants’ Mark Sweeney, who moved into second place on the career pinch-hit list last week. “The history of the game is special, and it glorifies the others who have done stuff. It glorifies what the game is all about.”
Yet there’s no guarantee Bonds will be in the starting lineup for the series opener at the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
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“We’ll see,” was all Giants manager Bruce Bochy would say Sunday.
Bonds hit his 754th home run Friday night against Florida, then went 1-for-7 with five walks the rest of the weekend. That left him trying to match Aaron’s mark on the road, and it won’t be friendly.
The hostile Dodger crowd likely will try to make Bonds uncomfortable in left field and at the plate this week. The Giants then head farther south to San Diego for the weekend.
“It’s easy to just go and be against him,” said San Francisco center fielder Dave Roberts, who has played for both the Dodgers and Padres. “I hope people go above that. In my perfect world, that’s the way it is.”
When Bonds isn’t in the batter’s box, he has been in front of the personal flat-screen TV at his corner clubhouse locker _ hoping to see Rodriguez reach 500.
Since hitting No. 499 on Wednesday in Kansas City, Rodriguez is 0-for-12 with five strikeouts. New York opens a homestand against visiting Chicago White Sox on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
A-Rod, who turned 32 on Friday, is bidding to break Jimmie Foxx’s record (32, 338 days) as the youngest to reach 500.
“Nobody will ever beat that,” Bonds said.
Even Ryan Howard?
“Not a chance,” the slugger said.
Glavine and the New York Mets will be at Milwaukee. He looks to become baseball’s 23rd 300-game winner, at age 41 and in his 20th major league season. The left-hander gave up Bonds’ 745th home run back on May 8, but also got his 294th victory in that game.
“I anticipate a sigh of relief,” Glavine said of having it all over.
Still, much of the focus out West will be on Bonds.
The 43-year-old slugger couldn’t tie Aaron at home and is booed and derided on the road, partly because of steroid suspicions surrounding his quest. In St. Louis, fans hollered every time the ball headed his way in left field but they also yelled at their own pitcher whenever Bonds was walked.
Roberts played 2 1/2 seasons for Los Angeles before the Dodgers dealt him to the Red Sox midway through Boston’s 2004 championship season.
“I played in Los Angeles, and I’d like to think they get it as well,” he said. “They’re different kind of fans. This is beyond the rivalry. This is history. Then they can go back to the rivalry stuff.”
Bonds would first see All-Star righty Brad Penny on Tuesday, followed by 6-foot-9 left-hander Mark Hendrickson and then former teammate and righty Brett Tomko in Thursday night’s series finale.
Bonds doesn’t seem to care. John Smoltz and Tim Hudson of Atlanta went right after him last week, and so did Marlins lefty Dontrelle Willis on Friday night.
Bonds started only three of the Giants’ seven games during the team’s previous trip to Chicago and Milwaukee, resting his sore legs for three days before connecting twice July 19 at Wrigley Field.
Bochy insists he’s not planning to try to manipulate history ” meaning sit Bonds during the trip to better the chance Bonds hits No. 756 at home.
“We’re not changing anything,” Bochy said. “I don’t think Barry’s going to change anything. We’re hitting a big road trip here against two teams at the top of our division. We’re not going to change our approach and I don’t see Barry changing his approach.”
Bonds wouldn’t address how he thought he would be treated come Tuesday, saying the focus needs to stay on the team.
“Probably what it normally is,” Bochy said of the atmosphere. “They like having a good time with Barry. It’s not going to affect him. He’s used to it. I don’t think the reception will be any different. I don’t know if they can take it up another notch. They’re probably the loudest of the road teams we play.”
If Aaron’s record falls elsewhere, the Giants hope Bonds would be cheered ” in spite of the steroid allegations that have surrounded his pursuit and the notion that he’s just plain not a nice guy.
“I certainly would hope so,” Bochy said, “because of the history that’s being created that it would be acknowledged.”
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Puckett was a five-time Olympian and World Cup skier