-- Barry Bonds's black leather clubhouse chair was fully reclined, and the San Francisco Giants 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.
Yesterday, he led off the second inning with a solo homer to right-center on the first pitch he saw from San Diego Padres left-hander David Wells (12-7), his 43rd homer of the season. However, San Diego's Jay Payton hit a tiebreaking three-run shot in the seventh off Jason Schmidt (16-7) as the Padres ended the Giants' six-game winning streak with a 5-1 victory. Trevor Hoffman got the final out with runners on first and second for his 39th save in 43 chances, passing Dennis Eckersley for third place on the career saves list with 391.
San Francisco holds a half-game lead over the Cubs, who lost to Cincinnati, in the NL wild-card race.
A tribute to Bonds was played on the scoreboard before yesterday's 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 yesterday moved into a tie with Ted Williams for 11th place on the all-time RBI 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 Friday night. "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 ballparks 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's 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," Alou said.