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San Francisco, Cooperstown Could Share Historic Moments

Barry Bonds
"It's basically good versus evil," Hall of Famer Jim Palmer said of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn being inducted as Barry Bonds, above, chases the home run record. (Justin Sullivan - Getty Images)

Still, Bonds's home run chase almost certainly will diminish the media coverage of Cooperstown. An informal poll of media members covering the Bonds chase found a half-dozen who already had canceled, or were planning to cancel, plans for covering the induction ceremony. Also, space on the front pages of newspapers and airtime during the network newscasts that otherwise would be devoted to Ripken and Gwynn might be usurped by Bonds if No. 756 comes Sunday.

"Nothing overshadows Cooperstown," said Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker, who was elected to the broadcasters' wing of the Hall of Fame in 2003, "not on that day. . . . [Bonds's homer] is like when a public figure dies -- it's huge news, but two days later you've forgotten all about them. But Cooperstown is forever."

As for the relative media coverage, Palmer said, "The bigger story, if you want to talk about playing the game the right way and playing the game of life the right way, is in Cooperstown."

As a practical matter, the timing of induction weekend means the Hall of Fame would not be represented in San Francisco over the weekend if Bonds is on the cusp of breaking the record. Typically, a representative from the Hall would collect artifacts from the historic moment. Though Bonds has previously indicated he would not donate items to the Hall, he has since consented to make some items available.

However, in every other sense, the Bonds record will have little or no impact on induction weekend, according to Dale Petroskey, the Hall of Fame's president.

"The way I feel about it is, the fans coming to this induction weekend are here to honor Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn," Petroskey said. "People will be talking about Barry Bonds and the record, but that's not going to change the atmosphere."

Selig, too, is expected to be on hand for the induction -- he traditionally sits on the dais with Hall of Fame members -- even if Bonds is on the cusp of the record, according to a league source. Selig has yet to announce publicly his plans for attending the record-breaker.

Gwynn Jr. said his father believes that "whatever is best for baseball is best for them." But such a statement prompts the question: Is Bonds's breaking of Aaron's record, given the many allegations that Bonds used steroids during his career, good for baseball?

"Yeah," Gwynn Jr. said. "He's breaking a record, and despite all the other crap that's going on around it, he still has to hit the ball and the ball still has to go over the fence. And he was doing that long before all this other stuff has come up. We're always going to wonder, 'Did he or did he not?' But there's no proof. So let's let the man enjoy his time. It's 755. It's the last big number out there."

Bonds Notes: As the Giants took the field for the top of the first Monday night, the giant video screen in center field replayed highlights of Bonds's 752nd and 753rd career homers, both of which came Thursday afternoon in Chicago.

That was followed by a taped message to Bonds from former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, who said: "Congratulations on a great career and good luck on the road to history. And remember, don't just break that record -- give 'em a number that no one will reach."

Bonds responded to Montana's message by clapping his bare left hand against his glove. A half-inning later, he received a lengthy standing ovation before his first plate appearance of the game, which resulted in a walk. . . .

Bochy had no definitive word on Bonds's playing schedule for the week, but an obvious spot for a day off would be Thursday, a 4 p.m. Pacific time start in the series finale against the Braves.

"I'll check with him and see how he's doing," Bochy said. "For the most part, he'll be out there."

Staff writer Barry Svrluga contributed to this report in Washington.

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