Chasing Bonds' History Ball: SF Weekly Gets Wet for Community Comment

"Barbarism ... boxing skills ... and booze ..." -- Seven fans detail their plans to catch money from the sky
Photos and story BY TY CALLISTER
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When Bonds smacks that 756th homerun to beat Hank Aaron’s career record, someone’s gonna be rich. At AT&T Park, that lucky fan might be a dude in a little rubber raft from K-Mart.

One of the best ways to catch that record homerun ball (while garnering some awesome face time on the local news) is right in the bay, McCovey Cove behind the ballpark. That means dozens of people on kayaks, canoes, surfboards, motorboats, and cheap rubber rafts are floating into the little cove behind AT&T Park this week, all in hopes of catching a homerun ball with a price tag big enough to make you say, “Holy rubber raft, Batman!”

Highlights in the water during Monday night’s game included hot chicks in life jackets, and one group of guys who erected a floating beer pong table

In the history of AT&T Park, Giants players have knocked a total of 44 “splash hits” into the water, and Bonds has hit 34 of those. Boaters came prepared to catch another one with nets, baseball mitts, and even giant red targets.

Before the game, tickets that are normally around $30.00 each were scalped on Craig’s list for around $60.00, and by game time there were still scalpers on the street telling you they were going to “cut you a special deal” with tickets for $100.00 each.

Luckily, floating in McCovey Cove is cold, wet and free. Bonds didn’t beat Aaron’s homerun record Monday night, but SF Weekly interviewed a few of these brave boaters as they awaited their chance at catching Bonds homer number 756.

Joey D’Angelo
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
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Equipment: Baseball caps, nets, and a huge circular party raft dubbed “The Defective Diaphragm.”

What do you think Bonds’ 756th homerun ball is worth?
“No idea. I think because of the controversy it’ll be worth more.”

If you caught the ball, what would you do with the cash?
“I would donate it to steroids research.”

What’s your technique for catching the homerun?
“Have a good time and rely on luck. Just like Vegas.”


Mike Minokian
Hometown: Los Altos Hills, CA
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Equipment: Two-person Sea Cloud raft, Budweiser, floating beer pong table.

What do you think Bonds’ 756th homerun ball is worth?
“At least a million.”

What would you do with the cash?
“Give a little bit to my parents, then go out and party with my friends. That’s why we’re here, it’s all about a good time.”

What’s your technique for catching the homerun?
“Basically, we’re gonna be drinking all game.”

Cy Philbrick
Hometown: Hartford, CT
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Equipment: Bright orange rubber raft with a slow leak.

What do you think Bonds’ 756th homerun ball is worth?
“Minimum, a million.”

If you caught the ball, what would you do with the cash?
“Buy a bigger raft and catch more balls.”

What’s your technique for catching the homerun?
“Barbarism.”


Mike Fischer
Hometown: Ben Lomond, CA
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Equipment: Kayak, wetsuit, baseball mitt

What do you think Bonds’ 756th homerun ball is worth?
“Depends on who catches it. Different people place value in different ways.”

What would you do with the cash?
“Actually, I would ask to have lunch with Willie Mays, then maybe give him the ball during lunch.”

What’s your technique for catching the homerun?
“If it comes my way I’ll give it a shot, but I’m not gonna fight over it.”

Larry Budmelvin
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
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Equipment: Fishing net from Gus’ Bait and Tackle, surfboard, Bud Light.

What do you think Bonds’ 756th homerun ball is worth?
“Half-million to a million.”

What would you do with the Bonds-ball?
“Give the ball to Barry… after he hands us a one million dollar cashier’s check.”

What’s your technique for catching the homerun?
“Search and destroy. No holds barred.”


Ryan Nixon
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
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Equipment: Rubber raft, life jacket, cool shades, mohawk.

What do you think Bonds’ 756th homerun ball is worth?
“A million, probably more.”

If you caught the ball, what would you do with the cash?
“I’d hold onto the ball for a while, milk it, call up Letterman. Then sell it, give some to charity, and buy season tickets for next year.”

What’s your technique for catching the homerun?
“We’re gonna set up a perimeter. We’ve got six friends out there.”


Dana Wright
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
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Equipment: Rubber raft, bike pump, baseball mitt, one life vest for two people.

What do you think Bonds’ 756th homerun ball is worth?
“Five-million.”

If you caught the ball, what would you do with the cash?
“Splurge.

What’s your technique for catching the homerun?
“Boxing skills… You gotta have no fear, you gotta jump off the boat if you have to.”


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