Selig wouldn't say Thursday whether he would attend any Giants
games if and when Bonds closes in on the mark.
Selig insisted that Major League Baseball would celebrate Bonds'
potential feat exactly as it does any other major milestone, such
as a pitcher's 300th win. Last year, Selig telephoned San Diego
closer Trevor Hoffman when he became the career saves leader.
"I wasn't there when Roger Clemens won his 300th game. That's a
matter I'll determine at some point in the future," Selig said at
a baseball luncheon hosted by Fox Sports Bay Area. "Let me say it,
and I'm not going to say anymore. That's it."
Does he even want Bonds to pass the 755 homers of Aaron, who
played his final two seasons in 1975 and '76 with the Selig-owned
"It is a fact Hank Aaron and I have been friends for 50 years,
close friends," Selig said. "When you're the commissioner, you
just don't think about that. I have said before if and when Barry
Bonds breaks that record it will be handled the same way that every
other record in baseball that's been broken was handled."
There has been wide speculation Selig would prefer that Bonds
just retire now to avoid further scrutiny as the seven-time NL MVP
pursues the mark of Hammerin' Hank. The 42-year-old Bonds, whose
$15.8 million, one-year contract with the Giants remains unresolved
less than a week before the team begins spring training, begins his
22nd major league season only 22 homers from passing Aaron -- and
Bonds is healthier now than in recent seasons.
"This is a matter between the Giants and Barry," said Selig,
who was treated to his favorite frozen custard dessert flown in
from Milwaukee. "As far as I'm concerned, as long as things that
are being done are in the best interest of the sport, whether it's
contractual or anything else, I don't make those judgments."
Bonds and the Giants have differing views of certain language in
the deal and Bonds has yet to sign a revised version that omits the
promotional clause that runs afoul of baseball's new labor
agreement. The version Bonds signed did contain a provision that
says the Giants can terminate the contract if Bonds is indicted.
This season, there will be further speculation about whether his
quest for the record was fueled by steroids. Bonds long has denied
knowingly using steroids.
A federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds perjured
himself when he testified in 2003 in the Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative steroid distribution case that he hadn't knowingly
taken any performance-enhancing drugs.
If Bonds becomes the new home run king, Selig wasn't sure
whether the mark would always be tainted by his alleged steroids
"Only history will tell us that. I'm not smart enough to make
that judgment," Selig said.
Selig did say he likes Bonds.
"I do," he said. "Taking this job after running a team, I
have lived with players all of my adult life. I think I understand
players very, very well. There are very few players I have disliked
for any particular reason. Today I can't think of any players."
New Giants manager Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, is determined to make
sure his players don't let Bonds' issues affect his club as it
looks to end a three-year playoff absence. Pitchers and catchers
report to the team's Scottsdale, Ariz., complex Wednesday.
"We're going to try to stay from any distractions, even with
Barry and his historic milestone," Bochy said. "Guys have to
remind themselves, 'We're seeing history but we have to win a