Barry Bonds is within five of being the new all-time home run king. AP’s Janie McCauley looks at the pressure issue.
Barry Bonds knows he’s going to enjoy his home run chase much more if the San Francisco Giants start winning regularly. For now, the slugger refuses to think about how he’ll feel as he closes in on Hank Aaron’s mark of 755. He’s four away from tying Aaron heading into a three-game home series against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers starting Friday night.
Bonds acknowledges it still could take several weeks, or even more than a month. That means it might take until after his 43rd birthday on July 24.
“I’m really not there yet. I think when you get to 54, I’ll really feel it,” Bonds said during the All-Star festivities. “Then it just depends how many games are left. But I’m not quitting, so I might make you wait ’til next year. You know I’m drama, so why not make it more drama?”
Most of Bonds’ recent milestone home runs have come in the warm confines of San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark, where fans cheered him at every chance during Tuesday’s All-Star game. He is beloved in the Bay Area despite the steroid suspicions.
Everybody expects he’ll break Aaron’s record at pitcher friendly AT&T Park, too.
“You think I have that kind of time to do that?” Bonds said. “This ballpark isn’t that easy. They ain’t going to throw the ball back.”
Bonds has repeatedly said he will play beyond 2007, whether or not he catches Hammerin’ Hank this year. “If I come up short, I come up short, and if I get past it, I get past it,” Bonds said. “But I’m going to give my honest effort to my ability that God’s given me.”
He also has 3,000 career hits on his mind, too. And when Bonds puts his mind to something, he usually does it. “If you cut your sights short, you might as well quit, because now that desire in you is gone,” Bonds said. “I’m not chasing Hank. My sight’s past that.
“I’ve got some time, brother. My skills ain’t that bad. I’m going to play. You know what, if I walk away from the game knowing I can still play the game, I wouldn’t have a happy ending. I have to walk away when I know I can’t do it anymore, so I can be free with it.”
Aaron blew past Ruth’s 714, quietly finishing with 754. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bonds became the first to break the 800 barrier.
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