If Bonds breaks HR record, Aaron 'won't be there'
NEW YORK -- Even if Barry Bonds is poised to break the home run record right there in Atlanta, Hank Aaron is not going.
Aaron Q&A transcript
Excerpts of The Associated Press telephone interview with Hank Aaron: Q&A
"I will never reconsider my decision," Aaron told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday from his adopted hometown.
Commissioner Bud Selig also might not attend the record-breaking game, and former commissioner Fay Vincent said in a radio interview on Tuesday that if Selig doesn't attend the game where Bonds breaks the mark, then it would show that Selig believes Bonds has used performance-enhancing drugs.
"I believe that there's a major question. I believe there are lots of answers that we need. I believe that there is certainly evidence. Is it conclusive? Has he admitted anything? You know it's a little bit like Pete Rose. The evidence that Pete Rose bet on baseball was enormous; Pete denied it. And people all over this country said, 'Well, you know it's not great evidence, we really don't know, we'd give Pete the benefit of the doubt.' The whole thing is silly -- Pete Rose bet on baseball. I think Barry Bonds took steroids. Enough's enough," Vincent told ESPN Radio 760 in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Selig, a good friend of Aaron, has refused to say whether he'll attend games as Bonds nears the record.
In 1974, commissioner Bowie Kuhn was criticized when he wasn't at the ballpark the night Aaron hit No. 715 to break Babe Ruth's record. Kuhn attended the game when Aaron hit No. 714.
Selig said during spring training that if Bonds surpasses Aaron, "it will be handled the same way that every other record in baseball that's been broken was handled."
Vincent sent a memo to clubs in June 1991 stating that players possessing, selling or using illegal drugs -- including steroids -- were subject to discipline, but any penalty imposed on a player prior to the 2002 agreement likely would not have withstood a union challenge.
Aaron doesn't plan to see the milestone homer in person, wherever it might happen. And that includes Atlanta, if it takes that long -- Bonds and his San Francisco Giants don't play there until mid-August.
"No, I won't be there," he said.
Asked why, Aaron said: "I traveled for 23 years, and I just get tired of traveling. I'm not going to fly to go see somebody hit a home run, no matter whether it is Barry or Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig or whoever it may be. I'm not going any place. I wish him all the luck in the world."
Aaron said he had no wisdom for Bonds as the Giants slugger pursued the mark.
"I don't have any advice whatsoever, no advice to anybody," Aaron said.
The interview largely covered a classical music composition by Richard Danielpour whose subjects are Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Josh Gibson.
Aaron for the most part declined to discuss Bonds, whose run for the record has been tainted by allegations that he has used performance-enhancing drugs.
Aaron, a Braves senior vice president, said he follows his team closely, but usually by television from home rather than going to Turner Field.
As to what he might be doing when Bonds broke the record, Aaron said, "I have no idea, probably playing golf somewhere."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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