Bonds closes door on Derby
Slugger says 'no' to participating in homer contest
CINCINNATI -- Giants slugger Barry Bonds said on Thursday that he has definitely decided not to participate in Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby at AT&T Park.Bonds seemed to leave that door open just a bit last Sunday, after it was announced that he had been voted by the fans to start in the National League outfield with the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mets' Carlos Beltran in Tuesday's All-Star Game on his own home field. But now he has shut it completely. "I said no and I meant no," Bonds told MLB.com before the Giants closed a three-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Later, he reiterated that stance to a group of writers. "There are too many rounds [three]," the veteran slugger said. "It takes too much out of you." Additionally, Commissioner Bud Selig still hasn't decided whether he will be in the house on the day Bonds hits his 756th homer to pass Hank Aaron into first place into Major League Baseball's all-time home run list, and he doesn't intend to address the issue during All-Star Game festivities. On Tuesday, prior to the the All-Star Game, Selig is set for a question-and-answer session at the annual All-Star meeting of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and an Internet chat at the DHL FanFest, during which the question is certain to come up. Selig has kept the decision in abeyance until Bonds nears Aaron's mark. After hitting his 751st homer against the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night, Bonds is four homers away from tying Aaron's 755 and five shy of breaking it. Aaron has held the record since passing Babe Ruth at 715 more than 33 years ago. Selig was in Milwaukee on Thursday and didn't have any comment. Ironically, Bonds could be right at tying or breaking the record when the Giants play at Milwaukee's Miller Park from July 20-22. That's the team's third series after the All-Star break. Bonds said the decision to be there was totally up to Selig. "If he wants to come, he can. If he doesn't want to, then don't," Bonds said. "That's what I would say about it." As far as the Home Run Derby is concerned, an MLB official said on Thursday that Bonds had been extended an invitation, along with the rest of the home run leaders in the National League, although MLB is reluctant to bring in non-All-Stars to compete. Going into Thursday's action, Bonds has 17 homers, and he is tied for sixth in the NL with Miguel Cabrera and Dan Uggla of the Marlins. Each league will have four representatives in the contest. Thus far, Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who leads the NL with 27, Ryan Howard, who is fourth with 20, and Cabrera have tentatively agreed to participate. Howard, who is not an All-Star, was extended an invitation because he's the defending champion, having won last year's competition at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. The Reds' Adam Dunn, second at 23, Griffey, third with 22, and the Brewers' J.J. Hardy, fifth with 18, were also under consideration. Cabrera and the Cards' Albert Pujols, ninth with 16, are the only other NL All-Stars in the top 10. Griffey Jr. and Dunn also said on Thursday that they wouldn't participate in the contest. "I'm not doing it," said Griffey, who said he formally turned down an invitation. "I have personal reasons." Dunn isn't on the NL team and said he hasn't been contacted by MLB. "I wouldn't do it if they did [contact me]," Dunn said. "I have no interest." Bonds, who turns 43 on July 24, said he was too old to compete at this point in his 22-year career. "I have nothing to prove in that [contest]," Bonds said on Sunday. "I just want to have a party with the people of San Francisco, basically. The fans have voted. I just want to have a big, huge party with them."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.