San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds stands in left field during the first inning against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2004, in San Francisco.
SAN FRANCISCO Barry Bonds' black leather clubhouse chair was fully reclined, and the San Francisco slugger leaned back in it with a rare moment to relax after joining the 700 home run club.
The distraction of another milestone is gone, and Bonds is using every chance he can to save energy and prepare himself to play every game for the rest of the season during the Giants' playoff push.
He constantly complains how tired he is, but the past week has truly been mentally exhausting for the six-time NL MVP.
Bonds joined an exclusive club Friday night only Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755) have hit more homers when he connected in the third inning against San Diego's Jake Peavy for career homer No. 700. It was his fourth game going for the mark.
He pounced on Peavy's 0-1 curveball and sent it a couple rows up in the left-center field bleachers for a 392-foot solo shot, becoming the first player to reach 700 in 31 years.
Bonds wasted no time getting to 701.
On Saturday, the 40-year-old Bonds led off the second inning against Padres left-hander David Wells with a solo shot to right-center on the first pitch. A tribute to Bonds was played on the scoreboard before the game, and he received a long ovation when he jogged out to take his position in left field and again when he stepped into the batter's box.
Bonds moved into a tie with Ted Williams for 11th place on the all-time RBIs list with 1,839. He also took over seventh place on the career list from Carl Yastrzemski for total bases with 5,540 he began the year in 10th place, also passing Frank Robinson and Eddie Murray.
''It's just overwhelming to be in a position where I'm at right now,'' Bonds said. ''Hopefully I can just stay focused and do it quietly.''
As hard as he might try, Bonds just doesn't do things quietly. Not with the monstrous blasts he hits out of ballpark's all over the country, and the ever-growing list of pitchers who have surrendered them.
''They're all meaningful, they're all important, they all mean something as far as all the hard work I've put in, all the practice and training,'' Bonds said.
Now, everyone keeps asking Bonds whether he believes he can pass Aaron. Bonds, who said during spring training ''I can do it all,'' had fun with one such question Friday.
''Depends on how long my contract is,'' he said, smiling.
Giants owner Peter Magowan said Saturday he will talk to Bonds soon about the 2006 club option in Bonds' contract, which San Francisco almost certainly will exercise.
''We haven't had time to sit down with him yet,'' Magowan said.
That's probably because Bonds is playing every day now something he rarely did last season, when he would regularly take off day games after night games.
Manager Felipe Alou spoke to Bonds earlier this week in Milwaukee to map out how the rest of the season might go.
Bonds wants to play. He wants a World Series ring before he's through.
''I think he's smart enough to get by. He knows what he's doing. He knows how much we need him,'' said Alou, who wasn't sure Bonds would get to 700 this year with all his walks. ''The way they were not pitching to him, I was afraid he wasn't going to get 40, and 700 was going to be something for next year May next year.''
While Bonds has developed quite a reputation for his prickly personality, he has been respectful of his sport's history. He passed up godfather Willie Mays for third on the all-time homers list when he hit 660 earlier this year.
And Aaron acknowledges it's just a matter of time before Bonds leaves him behind, too.
''I think that if you take his talent and what he has done in the last few years, I think that he is the greatest hitter, the greatest athlete, the greatest ballplayer that has ever played the game. Bar none,'' Aaron told Sporting News Radio on Friday. ''I'm serious about this.''
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