Homestand begins with Bonds 3 homers from passing Aaron

Updated: July 24, 2007, 1:18 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants didn't need to save a seat for Bud Selig at AT&T Park on Monday night.

Bonds: Most HRs vs. opponent

If Barry Bonds homers against the Braves this week, Atlanta will become the eighth franchise that has allowed at least 40 homers to the slugger.

Homers Team
86 Padres
64 Dodgers
64 Phillies
63 Nationals/Expos
59 Reds
53 Rockies
47 Cubs
39 Braves
39 Cardinals
39 Diamondbacks

Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record resumed as the San Francisco Giants played host to the Atlanta Braves, but the commissioner was not in attendance.

Bonds went 1-for-3 but didn't homer in the Giants' 4-2 loss to the Braves.

Even if he is in attendance in the future, Selig will not participate in any on-field celebration when Bonds, who has faced unrelenting steroid allegations for years, breaks the record, USA Today reported Monday.

Monday's game was the start of a seven-game Giants homestand and Selig "has no current plans to fly" to San Francisco. But Selig re-iterated to ESPN before the game on Monday night that he has not yet made up his mind about whether to attend upcoming Giants games as Bonds continues his chase.

The commissioner attended all three Giants-Brewers games over the weekend, but he will be at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony this coming weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y. Selig said Friday any celebration of the record will be handled by the Giants.

Selig and Bonds did not speak during the series at Miller Park. The commissioner declined to say if the record will remain legitimate if it's broken by Bonds.

"We won't get into that," Selig said. "I'm not passing judgment -- nor should I."

Bonds has 753 home runs, two from tying Aaron's record, and will have the chance to make history at home in the Bay Area where he's hit so many of his milestone blasts.

"Maybe he'll hit it in our bullpen and one of us will catch it," reliever Steve Kline said during the Giants-Brewers series.

Bonds, who turns 43 Tuesday, was held out of San Francisco's 7-5 loss Sunday in the series finale against Milwaukee, though manager Bruce Bochy almost used his slugger to pinch hit.

Bonds started just three of seven games during San Francisco's trip. Bonds went 0-for-6 with three walks -- one intentional -- and two strikeouts in the first two games of the series in the city where Aaron started and finished his 23-year career.

In his first season as San Francisco's skipper after 12 years with the NL West rival Padres, Bochy spoke to Bonds in the batting cage this weekend and realized just how thrilling the record will be.

"Sometimes you have to remind yourself you're standing by who is going to be the all-time home run leader," Bochy said. "Sure, that is something you not only think about but appreciate. ... It's going to be pretty special when it happens. Barry should get the attention he's getting."

Bonds: Most HRs vs. pitcher

John Smoltz, Monday's scheduled starter for the Braves, has the dubious distinction -- along with four other pitchers -- of allowing the most home runs to Bonds.

Pitcher Homers
John Smoltz 8
Greg Maddux 8
Curt Schilling 8
Terry Mulholland 8
Chan Ho Park 8
Bonds will likely play five or six games during this week's homestand, including Monday's. Bonds has had success against Braves ace John Smoltz (9-5), who started the opener. Going into the game, Bonds had eight home runs and a career .297 average (19-for-64) against the right-hander.

The Braves are another one of the Hammer's former teams. The first three games with Atlanta are night games, followed by a 4 p.m. PT start Thursday. Sunday's finale with the Florida Marlins is the only early afternoon contest.

Bonds' teammates are eager for him to break the record not only for the slugger's sanity, but so everybody will have a semblance of normalcy again. The media horde was huge at Miller Park this weekend, and it will just get crazier back home.

"With the group of guys we have and guys who have been around, I don't see it making a big change," right fielder Randy Winn said. "It's always fun to play in that kind of atmosphere."

Bochy said at the beginning of this trip that he no longer planned to play Bonds in day games following night games, but the seven-time MVP appeared in the Giants' victories both Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

"We'll see how the games go," Bochy said of the homestand. "I'll give him a day, but I don't know exactly when -- if not more [than one day]."

Olney on Mike & Mike

Buster Olney says commissioner Bud Selig, as the leader of the sport, should be on hand to see Barry Bonds achieve the all-time home run record. Listen Insider

Bochy knows he will disappoint the fans in the Giants' waterfront ballpark when he does choose to sit Bonds, who hit two home runs Thursday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on almost three full days' rest.

The Giants certainly want Bonds to become the new home run king at home, where he is beloved in spite of the steroids suspicions that surround him.

"It's hard to get more people in there than what we've had. They've been unbelievable as far as the support through our struggles," Bochy said. "But I'm sure it's going to create even more excitement. It's hard to beat what we have at our ballpark. Now that Barry's getting closer, you'll sense the excitement."

Bochy doesn't want to think about the possibility Bonds' chase might move into the club's next road trip: to Los Angeles and San Diego starting July 31.

"Sure, we'd like for it to happen on this homestand," Bochy said. "But we're not going to change things if it doesn't."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.