SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Pooped after a long night of partying, Barry Bonds apologized ahead of time.
“Forgive me when I go 0-for-5. The party was more fun,” Bonds said before Tuesday night’s All-Star game. “I don’t stay up past 11 or 12 ’cause I get up and train every morning.”
He never did get those five at-bats. He wasn’t far off saying he would go hitless, though.
Bonds went 0-for-2 with a pair of flyouts, including a drive that left fielder Magglio Ordonez caught on the warning track.
Bonds swung at four of the seven pitches he saw on a night the baseball spotlight shined on him and his city, then took a seat on an orange cooler on the top step of the dugout.
“It was fabulous. It was great,” Bonds said afterward. “Another chapter to my career.”
Now, the 42-year-old Bonds will get a couple of days to rest his tired legs before resuming his chase of Hank Aaron’s home run record, Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It was already the morning Tuesday once Bonds finally hit the bed – as in about 3 a.m.
“Nap time. I’m still tired from last night. Hey, Junior, wake me up at 2:45,” Bonds said to close pal Ken Griffey Jr. of the Cincinnati Reds. “I’m brain-dead. This game may not work out too well for my hometown. I didn’t know what else to do but have a party.”
Bonds then pulled a sock over his eyes and tied it behind his head as a makeshift mask, hoping for even 10 minutes of shuteye.
All the noise from the adoring hometown crowd had to help the San Francisco slugger stay alert.
The fans started screaming well before Bonds emerged from the dugout clapping his hands for pregame introductions, then jumped to their feet for his first-inning at-bat against Oakland righty Dan Haren. Bonds flied out to right, then to left in the third.
Cubs star Alfonso Soriano, passed by Bonds for a starting spot in the final week of voting, replaced him in left field in the top of the fourth.
When No. 25 was announced as a National League starter, he quickly removed his cap and waved in all directions. He then took three bows toward the fans in appreciation of a 42-second standing ovation.
Chants of “Barry! Barry!” soon followed just before the national anthem, then the Giants star escorted godfather and Hall of Famer Willie Mays from center field in a tribute to the Say Hey Kid. For one night at least, all the steroid suspicions surrounding Bonds were merely an afterthought.
During batting practice, Bonds wasn’t too tired to do what he naturally does best.
Followed by dozens of cameras as he sauntered out from the dugout to take his pregame cuts, Bonds splashed the first pitch he saw into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field arcade. He hit four out in all.
Bonds signed one of his jerseys for AL All-Star Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees.
And the seven-time NL MVP held a hitting discussion at his locker for a few of his National League teammates, who were thrilled to get 20 minutes with someone likely to be the new Home Run King soon.
Bonds has 751 homers at the break, four shy of matching Aaron’s 755. He held court in his corner spot with Prince Fielder and Orlando Hudson as Griffey looked on in amusement.
“I just laugh at him. I’ll never understand it,” said Griffey, joined by son, Trey. “This is his day.”
Bonds was batting second – a move by NL manager Tony La Russa to get him more at-bats – and starting in his regular spot in left field. Bonds last batted in the No. 2 hole in a regular-season game on June 6, 1987, though he hit there in the 1993 All-Star game at Baltimore.
“I’ve never been in the last (batting practice) group and I’ve never hit second,” Bonds said before closing his eyes again.
He then reminded Griffey about the wake-up call, but the Reds star had stepped away. When Griffey returned, he said, “2:45, I know.”
Hudson, meanwhile, was planning to soak up a little more from watching Bonds during BP.
“Picking the guy’s brain about the game and hitting, not a lot of guys get that treatment,” the Arizona second baseman said. “All that he’s done, it’s beyond what you could ask for to get 20 minutes. He said so much, it’s too much to grasp right now.”