Bonds touched by teammates' gesture
Champagne, commemorative glasses marked homer 715
MIAMI -- As a final touch to the champagne toast Giants players had for Barry Bonds after he hit his Babe Ruth-passing 715th homer this past Sunday in San Francisco, several of his teammates have sent out the wine glasses used for the occasion to be inscribed with the date of the milestone blast -- May 28, 2006.Those tall, slender wine glasses, commonly known as flutes, were purchased along with a half-dozen bottles of champagne by Mark Sweeney and Todd Greene, both new to the team this season. The flutes were originally engraved with the number 715 on one side and the date will now appear on the other. Sweeney and Greene, who befriended Bonds during Spring Training, had planned the toast as a surprise for weeks. Bonds hit homer No. 713 in Philadelphia on May 7, and the wait for the milestone homers seemed to be interminable at times. But Bonds said he was not surprised by the reaction of his teammates. "Not with this team, not at all," Bonds said. "They've stood behind me since Day 1 of Spring Training. Since the beginning. Like I said [Sunday], this group as a whole is the best I've ever played with in my entire life. It's just overwhelming the way they've treated me." The added inscription should be done by the time the Giants return home Monday from this current road trip for a night game at AT&T Park against the Marlins. Sweeney said everyone in the Giants clubhouse will get one as a keepsake for having been there the day Bonds went into second place on the all-time list and also became the top lefty-swinging home run hitter in baseball history. "We made six special ones for [Bonds]," Sweeney said. "Everyone who was there -- players, the manager, coaches, training staff, clubhouse personnel -- are going to get one of the glasses. Hopefully, he'll sign them. One team photographer was there to capture the moment. I think it was classy. That's what we wanted. We didn't want a long, drawn-out thing. We wanted to basically signify what it meant to us. "Hopefully, he'll remember that as a special moment. I think it was a special moment for him, personally." Bonds, who was out of the starting lineup Wednesday night against the Marlins for the second straight game at Dolphin Stadium, was so touched by the gesture that he has continued to wax eloquent about it in the days after the event. "The funny part is that it brought out a softer side of me, and I don't want to go back to being the other person," said Bonds, who has often been called unapproachable inside the confines of the clubhouse. Bonds has been plagued by soreness in his lower back and surgically repaired right knee, but his absence from the lineup this week seemed to be as much to take a breather from the pressure of tying and passing the Great Bambino. Bonds took a day off in Houston on May 17 and then began a stretch of starting nine of the team's next 10 games.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.