Monday, July 27, 2009
Bonds, Giants honor Burns
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sue Burns surely would have appreciated the sea of orange in her honor, even more color than usual at the San Francisco Giants' waterfront ballpark in remembrance of the club's beloved late owner.
Burns, a devoted philanthropist whose family holds the largest stake in the Giants, died July 19 at age 58 of complications from lung cancer, only nine days after being diagnosed.
Barry Bonds shares a moment with Trina Dean, left, and Tori Burns, the daughters of Sue Burns, during the Giants' pregame tribute to their late owner Monday.
Home run king Barry Bonds, a close friend with Burns, was among those in attendance for an on-field tribute Monday night before the Giants hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates. Players wore "Burns" patches on their uniforms, the on-deck circle was changed from Giants to Burns for this night and flowers and a jersey reading "GMenMom" with a No. 1 on it hung from her regular box seat near San Francisco's dugout alongside a bouquet of flowers.
A brief moment of silence was held before the national anthem and Burns' two daughters, Tori and Trina, threw out the ceremonial first pitches to Bonds and Rich Aurilia.
Giants coaches, players, staff and their wives stood near the pitching mound for the pregame ceremony, which also included a video tribute. Burns' son-in-law and two granddaughters were on the field, too.
Burns missed Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter for the Giants on July 10 -- a rare absence from the ballpark. Burns attended a game against San Diego the previous day.
Bonds, dressed casually in jeans and a zip-up sweat shirt and sporting dark shades, declined to discuss Burns.
"I've already said enough," the slugger said, making his way to Burns' seats for the game after signing autographs outside the Giants' clubhouse.
Bonds had previously posted a message about Burns on his Web site.
"It was very sudden and devastating to all who knew her," Bonds wrote. "Not only were Sue and her husband, Harmon, majority owners of the Giants, but throughout my career in San Francisco, they became family. Her friendship and support was unwavering and for that I will be forever grateful. Sue was a gracious and warm person who touched everyone she met."
Burns and her husband, who died of heart failure in 2006 at age 61, helped keep the Giants in San Francisco in 1992 rather than relocating to Florida. Bonds arrived the following year -- and Burns was influential in Bonds re-signing with the club for one season in 2007, when he broke Hank Aaron's home run record with career clout No. 756.
The couple also were integral in building the team's 10-year-old ballpark at China Basin.
Burns often followed the team on the road and regularly went to spring training in Arizona. The Giants estimated that she attended at least 1,000 games over the last decade.
"We're going to miss Sue so much here," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You can tell how much she's loved by everybody who showed up today. This is an amazing woman. She loved her boys. She made everybody feel comfortable and welcomed you."
The Giants also held an organizational remembrance earlier in the day with players and front office personnel.