Saturday, October 06, 2001

HE DID IT !!!!

That's right, Barry Bonds broke the single-season home run record yesterday, and added another in the same game for good measure. It was a night that I will never forget for as long as I live.

Walking up to the park before the game, I could feel the sense of excitement and anticipation in the crowd. People were scalping nosebleed seats for over $100 apiece. We could have made money off our $16 seats, but there is no way in the world I would ever miss this. The chance to see history in the making is worth much more than a measly hundred bucks.

It was his first at-bat. No time for the game to get warmed up, no time for anticipation. I'm sure there were some people that arrived late and missed it altogether. Too bad for them !

At the crack of the bat, I wasn't sure it was going to leave the park. He hit it hard, on a straight line, towards right-center field. I thought "It's not going to go out". But it did. The crowd, and homes and bars across the Bay Area, erupted in a wild frenzy of cheers, screams, waving arms and pumping fists. Barry Bonds had broken the record.

The game stopped for a good 15 minutes while the celebrating continued. Nobody and nothing was ever going to take away from this moment. This moment belonged to Barry.

The Giants had all sorts of merchandise with the number 71 for sale, immediately following his record-setting blast. Huge banners with the number 71 were unveiled. How ironic that, a few innings later, he hit number 72.

The game itself was the longest in Major League history. The final score was 11-10. The Giants lost, and with that loss, were eliminated from post-season play. But none of that seemed to matter. Barry Bonds had broken the record.

The ceremony after the game included his godfather Willie Mays, along with the who's who of Major League Baseball and the Giants. We stuck around for it, along with half the stadium, to show our appreciation. At times, the spectators erupted into chants "BARRY ! BARRY ! BARRY !"

People may say Barry Bonds is an asshole. They say he's self-centered, he's a jerk, etc. To be honest, I think he just does not know how to communicate what he feels. Up there in front of the microphone, he struggled to put into words his feelings, his thanks and his gratefulness to the people around him. When he started to address the San Francisco fans, he looked at all of us cheering him on, and broke down and cried. Barry Bonds, superstar athlete, 6'2", 230 pound baseball player, home run record holder, everyone's favorite target, was reduced to tears.

His teammate rescued him by taking the mic and telling him of a bet they'd made earlier on this year. Barry bet that he would not break the home run record. The stakes ? A new Mercedes Benz.

I hope his teammate enjoys his new car. :)

When Barry composed himself, he stepped back up to the mic and gave these parting words: "I'm proud to be a part of this team, I'm proud to wear this uniform, and I'm proud to play for the city of San Francisco."

We're proud to have him.


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