SAN FRANCISCO – Baseball commissioner Bud Selig intends to be present for Barry Bonds' next three home runs, fitting Bonds' chase of the all-time home-run record around this weekend's Hall of Fame induction of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Selig announced Tuesday afternoon.
Selig will attend tonight's game at AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Giants host the Atlanta Braves. Bonds has 753 career home runs, two shy of Hank Aaron, Selig's longtime friend. Bonds faces Braves right-hander Tim Hudson, against whom he has nine hits, four of them home runs, in 19 at-bats, a .474 average.
In his statement, a previously conflicted Selig said, "Now that he is on the verge of tying the record, the time has come to announce I will make every attempt to attend the record-setting moment," saying that he chose to witness the event "out of respect for the tradition of the game, the magnitude of the record, and the fact that all citizens of this country are innocent until proven guilty."
Bonds is suspected of using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, enabling him to arrive at the brink of the game's most revered record. A federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds perjured himself nearly four years ago when he told a previous grand jury he had not knowingly taken steroids. Bonds' childhood friend and former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, is in prison for refusing to cooperate with the grand jury.
Selig would leave the chase for a day or two – or more, depending on Bonds' proximity to the record – to be in Cooperstown.