Giants open 10-game homestand Monday
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds has said he'd prefer to pass his godfather on the home run list while playing at home.
The San Francisco slugger will get his chance.
With 659 homers, Bonds is one shy of tying Willie Mays for third place on the career list as the Giants open a 10-game homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday at SBC Park.
The 39-year-old Bonds will be presented with his 2003 NL MVP award before the game -- his record sixth MVP -- from nine-time hockey MVP Wayne Gretzky.
Once Bonds tops Mays' mark, the Hall of Famer plans to present his godson with a torch decorated with 25 tiny diamonds, symbolic of the number the slugger wears. Both Bonds and Mays carried the torch before the 2002 Olympics.
"It's Willie's thing," Bonds said in San Diego. "If I hit it on the road, the real ceremony can wait until we get home."
It will have to wait. Bonds went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Padres that improved the Giants to 3-3.
Mays made the Giants' season-opening road trip to Houston and San Diego. He has been mentoring Bonds since the death of Bonds' father, Bobby, last August.
"That's what I'm here for," Mays said.
Bonds hit No. 659 in Houston last Monday on opening day, but hasn't hit one since, which is surprising, since Bonds has 75 career homers against the Padres, his most against any team. Some of it might have to do with the spaciousness of Petco Park, where the deepest part of the ballpark is 411 feet in right-center.
"We're just not making any mistakes against him," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.
With the exception of a fly ball by Bonds that center fielder Jay Payton caught near the top of the fence Thursday night, "We haven't been giving him a lot to hit," Bochy said.
Bonds was 0-for-4 with an intentional walk in San Diego on Thursday night in the Petco Park opener, then was 1-for-3 with a walk on Saturday night.
Everybody around the Giants seems anxious to get back home.
"The home opener's always special," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who joined the Giants this offseason. "But going to a new place, a new park, being outside, it's going to be a little extra special."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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