Bonds hits No. 715, and the radio goes dead


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The broadcast went dead at the worst of all moments, and thousands of Bay Area fans listening on radio missed Barry Bonds’ 715th homer.

They could not hear the radio account Sunday because the microphone of play-by-play announcer Dave Fleming stopped working at precisely the wrong time.

Fleming had begun the call at the beginning of Bonds’ fourth-inning at-bat before his hand-held mike quit during the broadcast on the Giants’ flagship station, KNBR.

“Three-and-two. Finley runs. The payoff pitch, a swing and a drive to deep cen …” – that’s all Northern California listeners got when Bonds passed Babe Ruth to move into second place on the career homers list.

“We apologize to the listeners on the radio,” Giants executive vice president Larry Baer said. “We’re as surprised as any of the fans listening. We have no idea what happened. Normally you have two calls of record – television and radio. Duane Kuiper made a great call on FOX Sports Net and that will be the call of record, the call that goes to the Hall of Fame.”

The listeners were left with only the loud reaction of the crowd. Fleming’s partner, Greg Papa, immediately grabbed another headset and finished the call a short time later – apologizing for the technical problem.

Fleming had no idea initially he’d gone off the air.

“I’m disappointed,” Fleming said. “What can I do about it now? I made the call. It just didn’t go over the air.”

Fleming still found humor in it all.

“If you only heard the rest of the call. It was an unbelievable call,” Fleming said. “Too bad we don’t have the proof.”

The station, which certainly had been planning for this moment for months, was left to replay the television call – and that’s what KNBR will have to rely on for years to recap the moment.

“The mike just cut out,” program director Lee Hammer said, noting he couldn’t pinpoint what went wrong.

AP-ES-05-28-06 2042EDT