After waiting for what seemed like an entire 162 game season, the two balls, one strike pitch rocketed to left center, the crowd exploding with excitement. Barry Bonds didn't miss his fastball in the bottom of the first and 420 odd feet later, a fan sitting in the bleachers became a bit richer thanks to catching home run number 754.
Inside the press box, little pins with the new Bonds number are passed around and in front of me two newspaper sports writers confirm … that was Barry's first home run off of a pitcher with a Dutch decent. In the distance, over the smoke stacks in right field, past the cargo ship on the docks, the moon is full. As with every night this week, an eerie fog drifts across the sky and envelops the bay, while just a few miles away the temperatures can get, and usually are, 20-30 degrees warmer than our spot along the basin. The setting is almost perfect for a historic home run chase no matter what your opinion on Bonds. On this night his clout wouldn't be the only one.
No matter where you sit in the stadium, including the normally low-key press box, every time Barry comes to the plate you stand. Fans around AT&T Park cheer and chant “Barry ... Barry ... Barry” as if Mr. October himself was at the plate in the 1977 World Series. I can't explain the wonder of standing four rows deep in the right field arcade and despite the smell of spilled beer and peanut shells, the flash of thousands of cameras looks like fireworks in the stands. I've said it before, but each night, that sight is the most mesmerizing to me.
With each Bonds at-bat, we make the hike from our press box location behind home plate, out to the right field arcade. I stand under the smoke stacks about four rows deep. Lance, our FNC photographer, hitches a spot in an outcropping of seats that sits right on top of the left field wall. He crouches down behind the guys who own the seats for tonight and shoots between them, so as not to block the view of the standing-room-only-crowd in the arcade. Problem is, so many people have crammed into this walkway about 30-feet above the wall that views of home plate are sporadic at best. Some fans have had a few too many adult beverages and everyone has asserted to me, unsolicited of course, that they'll talk to the cameras as soon as they catch the ball to tie “Hammerin Hank.”
Each time Bonds is up for the rest of the evening he walks. The game is a slugfest and the Giants would eventually win their fourth in a row. Despite San Francisco's somewhat dismal season, the packed house of rabid fans stays until the end, but Barry wouldn't homer again.
The home run that electrified the crowd on Friday was absent on Saturday. All the markings of a game by the bay were there: the fog, colder temps and filled seats. At one point Barry was coming to the plate and I was running to the arcade. It was as if someone had yelled fire because people were emerging from every door, bathroom, food line and stairwell. They were running perpendicular to me and the passageways were clearing rapidly as the name Barry Bonds echoed through the stadium roar.
I made it to the outfield in time, but Barry would pop-up on the first pitch. Saturday night would be like Monday through Thursday — no home runs and no record tied or broken.
Adam Housley joined FOX News Channel in 2001 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent. Most recently, Housley reported from President Ford's funeral. He also reported from Nicaragua and El Salvador on the war against drugs and scored an exclusive interview with Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega. You can read his full bio here.
Adam Housley joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based senior correspondent.