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756

I've said it before: I don't like Bar­ry Bonds. So it may seem strange that I want­ed to be there when he hit home run num­ber 756. But con­sid­er this: I love base­ball; the record for career home runs is, like it or not, one of baseball's hal­lowed mile­stones; Bonds plays in my city; the Giants were begin­ning a home stand as he was poised to break the record. Too many stars were aligned for me to NOT try to get into a game. I could always boo, right? So, on Tues­day, August 7, I rode my bike to AT&T Park, hop­ing to get lucky and fig­ur­ing that I wouldn't. Imme­di­ate­ly, I got real­ly lucky, scor­ing an amaz­ing tick­et in the club lev­el (a $70 val­ue) for the price of two AT&T Park beers. At that moment, I had a good feel­ing. A cou­ple of hours lat­er, Bonds faced a 3–2 count, and I decid­ed to join 45,000+ oth­er fans in point­ing my dig­i­tal cam­era at the plate. Up to that point, I made sar­cas­tic remarks about medi­at­ing the expe­ri­ence in that way. Now I'm post­ing my crap­py ver­sion on the Inter­net. Why? I don't know. Any­way, a moment lat­er, Bonds drilled the pitch into deep, deep cen­ter field and the stranger next to me grabbed my arm and start­ed jump­ing up and down.For the next five min­utes, I high-fived a lot of peo­ple, and some­one gave me a hug as I was film­ing the cel­e­bra­tions. Fire­works explod­ed over McCov­ey Cove; stream­ers rained down; the Nation­als left the field; Hank Aaron con­grat­u­lat­ed Bonds asyn­chro­nous­ly through a pre-record­ed video. It was sur­re­al, but fes­tive and exciting.Of course, there was also a weird vibe. Peo­ple seemed to feel per­son­al­ly grat­i­fied that they got to wit­ness his­to­ry, but few seemed real­ly, tru­ly hap­py for Bonds. Few peo­ple said: "Wow, good for Bonds.†Those who did were either peo­ple who pos­sessed amaz­ing capac­i­ties for for­give­ness and seemed gen­uine­ly hap­py, or younger guys with way too much bit­ter­ness who saw Bonds as a kin­dred spir­it. The rest of us said: "Wow. I can't believe I saw that. Wow. This is real­ly weird." After hit­ting the home run, Bonds left the game. It was the 5th inning, and the Giants had a 5–4 lead; the Nation­als came back and won. My ques­tion: Who does that? Hank Aaron? No. Dimag­gio? Nev­er. Ted Williams? God no. Sort of a per­fect end­ing to a con­flict­ed, sur­re­al night.

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