Broadcaster to let Bonds' HR play out

The Baltimore Sun

No one's exactly sure what to expect when Barry Bonds hits No. 756 and passes Hank Aaron on the all-time home runs list.

Jon Miller's plan is to expect nothing, and then let the drama unfold.

"If I am on the air when he hits this home run, for me it will be about capturing the moment," said Miller, a San Francisco Giants radio announcer for the past 11 seasons. "What is the moment going to be?"

Miller compares the lead-up to Bonds' historic homer to what he experienced in 1995 as Cal Ripken Jr. approached Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games-played streak. Back then, when Miller was the Orioles' radio play-by-play announcer, he also was in the middle of the hype.

"I think it makes it more fun; every day seems like a real big game," Miller said. "That's the way it was with Cal in '95. Every time he was in a new city, the clubhouse was packed, and as he got close to the record, obviously, it really got that way."

In retrospect, Miller said, there was no way to prepare for the unforgettable scene of Ripken running around the stadium and shaking hands with the crowd.

"He set out on his way, and that really became the moment," Miller said. "That was the longest nonstop ovation maybe in the history of sports, if not the world."

The spontaneity of that night is why Miller isn't scripting his words for when Bonds makes baseball history. Bonds could be cheered or booed. Or it could be mixed.

It'll unfold, and then Miller will describe it, as he did in 1995.

"Who knew it was going to happen that way?" Miller said. "Cal didn't know, the fans didn't know, it all just happened. That's what was beautiful about it."

Summer ritual

Los Angeles Angels general manager Bill Stoneman has built his team into a perennial contender with a top-five payroll, an aggressive owner and a top-notch farm system. But Stoneman's unwillingness to pull the trigger and get the Angels the missing pieces for their stretch run is disturbing.

The club again needs a big bat, and last year Stoneman nearly obtained Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada for pitcher Ervin Santana and shortstop Erick Aybar, but he wouldn't include injured first baseman Casey Kotchman, and the deal fell apart.

This July, Stoneman talked with the Texas Rangers about Mark Teixeira and was willing to move Kotchman and pitcher Joe Saunders. But it collapsed when he wouldn't include pitching prospect Nick Adenhart, from the Hagerstown area, or infielders Howie Kendrick and Brandon Wood.

"What we were being asked for and what we were willing to do were different," Stoneman said. "And what we were being asked to do, on balance, was going to damage us as much as it was going to help us."

In his eight years as Angels GM, Stoneman has made three minor deals at the deadline. He has won one World Series, but you wonder how far his teams would have gone if he had made a major addition in-season.

Said one baseball executive: "I don't know what he's waiting for over there. If his plan doesn't work out, he could get himself fired."

Burrell turns it around

Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell hit .129 in June and was enemy No. 1 at Citizens Bank Park. In July, he hit .435 with six homers and 22 RBIs. Then he waxed philosophically about what happened - sort of.

"The difference? I'm getting hits," Burrell said. "I don't know why. If I did, I would have done it before."

Quote of the week

"It was great to be mentioned. I didn't expect it. I am surprised the other three didn't mention me. I was a little bothered by that."

Former Oriole Brady Anderson on his buddy, Ripken, thanking him during the Hall of Fame speech last Sunday. To Anderson's feigned chagrin, San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel and Kansas City Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews didn't.

Quick hits

On Thursday, Tim Wakefield won his 150th game for the Boston Red Sox. The Atlanta Braves' John Smoltz and the New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte are the only active pitchers with more wins for their current teams. ... The Yankees' 13 home runs in two games against the Chicago White Sox last week tied a club record for homers in consecutive games that was set by Joe DiMaggio and company in 1939. ... Atlanta's Scott Thorman, 25, is out of options and is now buried behind Teixeira. Know any big league clubs that could use a young first baseman with power potential?

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