SAN FRANCISCO – Against a backdrop of red, white and blue banners and the San Francisco Bay, Jon Miller stood behind home plate and introduced the San Francisco Giants to a full AT&T Park.
Batting third, No. 25, left fielder Barry Bonds.
And, yep, they still love him here.
The people cheered and chanted his name and Barry responded by lifting his cap and waving his hand.
"Barr-EE! Barr-EE!" they called.
The other "Barr-EE!" – Zito – received similar treatment. And an old friend – Russ Ortiz, who has again won a place in their rotation – also got some love.
Bonds opened the season a couple hours before with a brief press conference in the dugout. Twenty-two home runs from the career home-run record and Jake Peavy waiting, Bonds whipped out a tape recorder and cautioned that any lies taken from his words would be reported on his website.
"OK," he said, "I'm ready now."
To paraphrase (and, granted, risk a special place on barrybonds.com), he's healthy, happy with Bruce Bochy's stewardship, and has taught his children all about Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson.
"I'm going to have fun this year," he said. "I'm going to have a good time. Well, try to anyway. … Right now, I feel great. How long it lasts, who knows?"
Later, during a pregame ceremony honoring many living Giants All-Stars, Bonds and Mays came onto the field together, holding hands. They stood beside Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and many others.