LOS ANGELES – The 8-year-old girl stood a few feet from the man mocking her father. She seemed somewhat oblivious, and considering the situation's flammability, that was probably for the best.
Because were she just a few years older, how would Aisha Bonds, daughter of Barry Bonds, have reacted to the Caucasian man who painted his face brown, wore matching latex skin over his head and stuffed a muscle suit beneath his authentic No. 25 jersey?
"You look funny," she said, according to the man who played the imposter, 22-year-old Scott Keighley Jr., and his father, 47-year-old Scott Keighley.
Good thing Bonds himself missed the pathetic minstrel show. Rage – roid or otherwise – surely would have been warranted.
"It's no big deal," Keighley Jr. said Wednesday about the scene that had played out a night earlier. "We're just trying to have some fun."
En route, he and his father overstepped the line between fun and moronic. The elder Keighley sported a white lab coat, playing BALCO founder Victor Conte to his son's Bonds. They wore costumes for the first two games of the San Francisco Giants' series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, sitting in the third row behind home plate, which gave them postgame access to the area about 15 feet from the Giants' clubhouse entrance.
Aisha Bonds had waited for her father there among the Dodgers fans streaming out Tuesday.
"I walked away just so she wouldn't be able to put two and two together, just so she might think (Scott Jr.) is a fan," Keighley said. "I don't think kids can know that.
"I would never hurt a kid or say anything to a child in any way. We didn't want to hurt her feelings."
He didn't, it appeared. Innocence spared her.
And the moment reinforced that Hank Aaron wasn't the only one on a legendary home run chase to deal with racism, both tacit and overt.
This is nothing new for Bonds, and his return here – where he experiences the greatest loathing – triggered the kind of display that would curdle anyone's sensibilities.
In fact, Bonds said in the Giants' clubhouse before going 0 for 3 with an intentional walk Wednesday nightin a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers that sometime within the last year opposing fans' nonstop jeering made Aisha wonder why all these strangers were saying mean things about her dad.
"My daughter already had her breakdown," Bonds said. "She's over it."
The subject surfaced after the Dodger Stadium crowd had greeted each of Bonds' at-bats with increasing fury the first game of the series. Bonds sat at his locker before Wednesday's game, hand on chin, looking like he'd rather be with his pal Greg Anderson in prison than shadowed by the media in the cramped visitors' clubhouse.
As much as Bonds tried to play sunny – among his assessments: "I feel good," "I'm enjoying it" and "I'm having a good time" – his disposition said something entirely different, and his reaction to Dodgers fans confirmed it.
"The only thing that bothers you is when your little kids are around and you've got adults acting like children," Bonds said. "That's the only thing that bothers you. They pay their money. They're going to say what they want to say."
Now in his 22nd season, Bonds learned that long ago. Still, for the boos to echo so loudly when he's on the cusp of what commissioner Bud Selig, on hand for the festivities, called "the greatest record in American sports" is not exactly a warm fuzzy.
So Bonds slogs through it, stuck on 754 home runs, a full-time security guard on his hip for the journey, trying to steel himself after a July in which he hit .186, his worst month since April 1991. He said he doesn't see the cameras clicking during his at-bats, doesn't hear the voices that chant "Ste-roids, ste-roids," doesn't feel pressure to hit Nos. 755 and 756.
And if so, good for him. Because some of what he would see, hear and feel is anything but funny.