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25 October, 2012

The Bonds Homer

   At the 2002 World Series, there were some fun story lines to follow, not the least of which was "Will Barry Bonds finally have a breakout postseason?" On a lesser level was, "How big of a factor will rookie relief pitcher Francisco Rodirguez be for the Angels?"
   Bonds entered the World Series in good shape (in terms of his hitting, but yes, in terms of his physique as well, but let's not go there.)  He hit .294 with 3 homers in the LDS against Atlanta. He hit .273 with one homer and 10 walks in a five game LCS win over St. Louis.
   K-Rod had fanned 8 Yankees in 5.6 IP in the LDS and 7 Twins in 4.3 IP in the LCS.
   So the baseball world was waiting for the then 4-time MVP and his regular season numbers (.370/46/110) to face this phenom who retired thirteen of the seventeen batters he faced via the strikeout following his call-up in early September.
   The baseball world had to wait one game, as a slug fest in game 2 forced Mike Scoiscia to go to his pen early and often. K-Rod entered in the 6th. After fanning the first two batters he faced, he got Bonds to bounce out to first and retired all nine batters he faced, whiffing four.
   The two would meet again in game 4. It was tied at 3 when Bonds stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 7th, and again Bonds grounded to first. K-Rod now lead the head-to-head two-zip.
   At one point that week on Baseball Tonight, Peter Gammons commented that K-Rod's cut fastball was tough on lefties seeing it for the first time. Before game 6, Bonds saw Gammons on the field and said "You're wrong, (about that fastball) "I just missed it. If he throws it again, I'll hit it farther than the ball I hit off Percival." 
    Bonds would get his chance in the top of the 6th. With the Giants up 3-2 in the series and 3-0 in the game, K-Rod entered in the 5th to try and keep the game close. After getting 2 outs to end he fifth, the next K-Rod v Bonds showdown began the 6th. I was sitting next to Peter Gammons on our Baseball Tonight set, located in left-center field when Bonds hit the ball. He didn't just hit it far, he it F-A-A-A-A-A-A-R-R-R-R-R!!! Like 485 feet far.
   When the inning was over I watched Bonds as he walked out to his position in left field. As he came to a stop in the outfield grass, Bonds was looking up in the direction of our set. Gammons had swung his seat on the set around toward the cameras to write some notes and had his back to the field. Bonds kept looking our way. I finally tapped Gammons on the shoulder and said "Peter, I think Barry Bonds is looking at you."
    Gammons swivelled his seat around and looked in Barry's direction. Bonds pointed out toward where his moon shot traveled as a way saying, "I told you so."
    It wasn't exactly Babe Ruth calling his shot against the Cubs but it was pretty damn cool.

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