• E-mail Adam Housley
• PHOTO ESSAY: Barry Bonds Breaks MLB Home-Run Record
Well, that didn't last long. A day after breaking “Hammerin' Hank's” record, Giants slugger Barry Bonds took only two pitches to deposit home run no. 757 in the bay near San Jose … or at least it seemed that way. The actual distance was listed at 438 to dead right field, which in San Francisco's AT&T Park means that the ball landed smack dab in the middle of McCovey Cove.
Unlike last night where about 180 people packed the cove in everything from boats, canoes, to surfboards, this time, after the new record, only eight vessels braved the cold night. There was no fight, no dog pile and no controversy when a member of the so-called Bonds Navy in an orange kayak with a black flag on the back raced for the ball and snatched the new and obviously evolving record from the chilly bay waters.
I was in a newly empty press box when Barry smacked this one. Being in the right field arcade, where I had lived in recent weeks along with tourists, purists and a few fans from as far away as Florida, would have been to no avail since the ball clearly was meant for the cove. Fans celebrated the new record for a second straight night, but this time there were no fireworks, or speeches. No time to stop the game for any ceremonies — now, as Barry breaks his own record with each new home run, I wonder what these baseballs will sell for. That's the question everyone — even our anchors in New York — have been asking me in recent days.
Since the All Star game a month ago, the PR staff for the Giants has been in extra inning mode.
Reporters from baseball nations all over the globe have packed the place, standing-room-only, as Barry approached 755. After 17 days, 16 games, three cities and a return to San Francisco, I enjoyed being in the box this last evening of our coverage; even a couple of photographers could find a seat for once. It seems after breaking the record, most reporters went home ... and not a day too soon for the beat writers, who had to endure days without their normal free snacks and even less space to wander, as the Giants drag into yet another extra inning game and at the same time lag in last place.
Around the park, a cold wind chilled everyone, except Barry and pitcher Matt Cain — two men on the extremes of knocking fastballs out of the park, with Barry extending his record and Cain hitting his first. All this as fog blows like smoke over the San Francisco skyline, partially enveloping the tops of buildings and the towers of the bay's bridge, visible over the right field fence. We have been lucky — there have been few better places in the last two and a half weeks to watch Barry's race: a new park in San Francisco, a rowdy packed house in Los Angeles, a new park in San Diego and then back to the City by the Bay.
This last day began like all the others. Our live shots from across the cove provide an amazing backdrop with the stadium in the distance. We then head in for batting practice which begins for the home team about 4:45 p.m. Bonds hits early as usual, and after a night where he winked and even reached to shake my hand as he left the interview room, he once again avoids any questions from the cameras. He avoids kids asking for his autograph and mumbles, “I am exhausted.” I am unsure what to make of this man. At times, he seems to open up, or maybe he just does a darn good sell. Other times, he seems to be in a ball park all by himself; tonight that seems to be the case.
The Giants as a whole are looser and there are more smiles and laughter on the diamond. The tensions sensed in recent days are officially gone and as I walk around the field on the warning track behind homeplate, batting practice, once overrun with cameras and reporters, is now back to normal.
As a baseball fan and former player, this assignment has reminded me about all the things I miss about baseball. It also reminds me about all the things baseball has missed. You see, not far from AT&T Park sits an area that once housed the old Seals Stadium.
Dimaggio played there; big league baseball on the West Coast began there and now the area is a new shopping mall. In the distance, you can see where baseball has gone. New parks, like AT&T, remind us of baseball's glory years, along with all of the new amenities. This new park hosted an amazing moment on the night of August 8 ... one that should have been for the ages, as a slugger attained sport's most famous record. Too bad the continuing controversy watered down the moment, for some who believe this record is tainted.
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.