This Bud's for you, Barry

BOB ELLIOTT

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bud Selig should be there when Barry Bonds makes history.

And that's whether the 756th homer clears the right-field fence at AT&T Park and lands in McCovey Cove, or clears the ivy at Wrigley Field in Chicago or somewhere else on the road.

Selig refused to say whether he'd be at the historical event while attending yesterday's Baseball Writers Association of America meeting prior to the 78th annual All-Star Game.

With 751 career homers, Bonds is four short of tying Hank Aaron, the all-time record holder of 755.

"I have made no decision on the Barry Bonds situation," Selig said.

"I have repeated, ad nauseam, that I will make the decision at the appropriate time. I'm not there yet."

Bonds will be viewed as a tainted home-run king everywhere but San Francisco.

He has been linked with the BALCO steroids scandal and he told a federal grand jury he unknowingly used performance-enhancing drugs, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2004.

Selig is commissioner to all 30 teams. Last time we checked, Bonds' Giants sat dead last in the West, card-carrying members of a National League franchise.

Besides, whatever good, whatever bad there is with Bonds, it all happened on Selig's watch.

The commissioner should suck it up and be there.

He was there when Mark McGwire set the single-season homer mark at Busch Stadium in 1998.

He was there when Cal Ripken Jr., broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive-game streak of 2,131 games.

The commissioner should be the No. 1 fan of the game and how can it not be wrong for baseball's No. 1 fan not to be there when a record like Aaron's is broken?

No one likes to tear down heroes like Americans do.

At the same time, no one likes to celebrate records any better than Americans.

This seems to be Bonds week. Mind you, he is playing before a choir that was converted long ago and couldn't for the most part care about the accusations.

He does have the home-court advantage in the city by the bay. Yet, Bonds spent almost an hour answering questions from wave after wave of the dandelions of journalists from North America during Monday's interview sessions. In the past he has not shown up.

There were the expected cheers during bating practice from the adoring fans and a huge roar when he came to bat against Dan Haren in the bottom of the first.

Some fan of Bonds once sent a jersey to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown after he broke McGwire's single-season mark. Yet it turned out not to be authentic.

HOF president Dale Petrovsky met with Bonds last spring and it did not go well. Bonds insisted that the meeting be taped for his ill-fated reality show.

However, Jeff Idleson, the Hall's vice-president, met with Bonds 10 days ago. Bonds promised he will give something from his fateful 756th homer to the hall.

Selig insists he is a baseball historian. Former commissioner Bowie Kuhn insisted that the Atlanta Braves play Aaron on the road in Cincinnati in 1974 after tying Babe Ruth's record of 714.

Kuhn failed to appear in Atlanta as Aaron homered off Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday Night Baseball. Selig should not make the same mistake.

"I understand I am the commissioner and this is the most hallowed record in American sports," Selig said. "I'll do what is in the best interest of baseball."

And doing what's best means being there for No. 756, even if Selig gets booed by Giants fans.


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