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Fan Throws Syringe at Barry Bonds During San Diego Opener

Bonds suffers wrath of San Diego crowd

April 4, 2006

By Sarah Tippit

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds endured a hostile reception on the opening day of the season on Monday, with a sold-out Petco Park making clear their views on allegations of the outfielder's illegal steroid use.

At the start of a campaign in which Bonds could become the greatest home-run hitter in major league history, the 41-year-old was booed at every opportunity by San Diego Padres fans and even had to remove a syringe from the field that was tossed in his direction from the crowd.

"That's the first time somebody threw something like that," Bonds told reporters of the incident that occurred as he trotted toward the dugout after the bottom of the eighth inning.

"I just put it off the field so no one would get hurt."

When asked whether he thought a fan was possibly sending a message about his alleged steroid use, Bonds replied: "I don't know, ask him. If that's what they want to do, embarrass themselves... it has nothing to do with me at all."

Bonds lies third on the all-time home run standings with 708, six behind Babe Ruth and 47 adrift of Hank Aaron's major league record of 755, but the last few seasons have seen persistent allegations of steroid use cast doubts on his achievements.

JEERING LOUDLY

Three days before the start of the season, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced it would open an investigation into drugs use, prompted by the launch of a book "Game of Shadows" that linked Bonds to the disgraced San Francisco laboratory,
BALCO.

A hostile San Diego crowd made sure Bonds would not find sanctuary on the field of play, jeering loudly every time he was involved, especially when team mate Lance Niekro singled on a line drive in the top of the second that allowed Bonds to score.

The run and a double in his first at-bat were the highlights of the night for Bonds and the Giants as San Diego went on to record a comfortable 6-1 victory in the battle between National League West Division rivals.

After the game, a solemn Bonds quietly unwrapped the strapping on his fragile right knee, an injury which forced him to miss most of last season, and showed little emotion when asked by reporters about the hostile crowd of nearly 44,000.

"I don't have an opinion (on that)," he said.

"My opinion is to concentrate on the game and play ball.

"The knee feels fine and I approach every game the same way."

Padres left-fielder Eric Young played down the home crowd's treatment of Bonds.

"I've seen the best players get booed. I don't think that it bothers him, knowing him," Young said.

"When you get booed or cheered it means people are aware of what you're capable of doing."

Submitted by Peter
 






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