Tuesday, July 9
Updated: July 10, 3:01 AM ET
Frozen moment: Hunter robs Bonds
By Matt Szefc
MILWAUKEE -- Maybe Bud Selig wishes Torii Hunter had let Barry Bonds' long blast tip off the end of his glove. It would have prevented a big headache.
Instead, when Bonds came to the plate in the bottom of the first inning you got a Kodak moment to last for a long time. Bonds, with his usual quick snap of the bat, drove a ball that looked destined to clear the right-center wall and give him yet another home run.
But Torii Hunter had other ideas. Hunter went back to the wall and, in what is becoming a familiar sight, set up himself at the base off the wall, jumped and reached well beyond the eight-foot fence to rob Bonds of a home run.
Awesome, simply awesome.
Bonds even gave Hunter a big bear hug as Hunter ran off the field, faking a high-five and then lifting him into the air.
"I think everybody was speechless," NL starting pitcher Curt Schilling said of Hunter's miraculous catch. "It's always awesome in an All-Star Game to see an All-Star do what got him there. That's one of the things that makes the game as great as it is."
The crowd, the players at Miller Park and a national television audience got the show they were looking for with Hunter's leap and full-extension reach.
"That was fun," Hunter said. "I was nervous yesterday for the Home Run Derby, but I grabbed that one from Barry Bonds. Someday, I can tell my grandkids I robbed a Hall of Famer in the All-Star Game."
Hunter's grab can go alongside Dave Parker gunning down two baserunners from the outfield in the 1979 All-Game in Seattle as memorable defensive players -- something the All-Star Game certainly isn't usually remembered for.
"I've seen (Hunter do that) so many times on TV," said AL starter Derek Lowe, who was the fortunate recipient of Hunter's catch. "That's what people come here to see, and it was just a great play."
Of course, Bonds got his revenge. Two innings later in his next at-bat, he deposited a ball where Hunter couldn't pull off his dramatics again -- off the facing of the first deck in right field, a line shot of a blast off Roy Halladay. The blast was Bonds' second in an All-Star Game, following one off Bartolo Colon in 1998 at Coors Field.
When the game ended in a tie, Hunter's catch gained even more importance. Without it, the National League would have won. "You're right to blame me," he laughed. "That's what I get paid to do. That's my job!"
Great players making great plays. What a display.