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
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