LOS ANGELES -- This day on the Bonds Watch ended as so many have recently -- still a long ball away from tying Hank Aaron's home run record.
Going 0 for 2 with two walks and enduring endless booing and ridicule from the hometown Dodger fans, Barry Bonds was removed for a pinch runner in the seventh inning after his sky-high pop to left-center bounced out of Rafael Furcal's glove.
Bonds struck out in the first inning, was intentionally walked with a runner at third base by Brad Penny in the third, and walked in the sixth.
Commissioner Bud Selig was watching at Dodger Stadium, where an even 56,000 were on hand with cameras flashing every time he stepped to the plate. Selig got to the park right before the game started after spending the weekend attending Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y.
No reason for the hurry, Bud.
At least there were things to do other than watching Bonds's futile attempts at a home run. Or his pregame ritual of taping his bats and watching his reaction to kick boxing on TV. You always wait for the sign that he's speaking and that sign never came before last night's game.
His teammates were there as usual to answer all of the questions he won't. Boy does he owe them.
"I think he realizes that," said Giants center fielder and Red Sox hero Dave Roberts. "He appreciates all the questions we answer. They're the same questions over and over and so we have the answers down pretty well."
It was the first game of a series in the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, with the added spice of Bonds, who is hated here more than in any city in America.
And there was the attraction of the Dodgers yesterday having acquired Scott Proctor from the Yankees for infielder Wilson Betemit at the trade deadline.
Several Dodgers also warmly recalled former teammate Eric Gagne, who was traded from Texas to the contending Red Sox.
There was LA's Nomar Garciaparra, standing in the Dodgers clubhouse, intrigued by the Celtics' acquiring Kevin Garnett, watching the news conference with great interest.
The former Red Sox shortstop also nodded when asked if Boston made a good move with Gagne.
No one was more pleased for Gagne than Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, who like Gagne is a French-Canadian who used to live with him in Arizona and train with him in the offseason.
Gagne text messaged Martin to inform him of the deal and Martin said he texted him back "I guess I'll be seeing you in the World Series."
Martin had no doubt Gagne would flourish in Boston.
"There's pressure, but he's so competitive," said Martin. "You put a guy like that in a pressure situation, it's going to make him even better. He's feeling good about it. He's capable of doing big things over there. I'm sure he's like any player in that he wants to be on a winning team.
"I don't think it's a big issue with him whether he's the closer or the setup man. He's there to lead the Red Sox to a championship, and that's what he wants. He wasn't gonna do that in Texas.
"I've never played on a team that hasn't been in contention, but it's only my second year. I could never see myself playing on a team that wasn't in it."
Martin said Gagne will lift everyone around him with his intensity.
Roberts, once a teammate of Gagne's in Los Angeles, said, "What an unbelievable fit that is. A high-intensity guy in a high-intensity city. That's perfect. I just remember when he was here how the players always joked about how the LA fans leave in the seventh inning. When Gagne was here, they'd stay for the ninth because he was an event. It was so fun watching him. His heyday here was unbelievable."
Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said maybe Gagne's fastball is slower, "but he's got everything else. The changeup, the slow curve. He just keeps hitters so off balance. I think as far as the setup role, he'll do great."
But then conversation turned back to Bonds and the home run chase.
"For Barry's sake I hope he does it soon," Roberts said, "This has gone on a long time and it's tough on him. There's a lot more stress for him than for us, but while it's been an ordeal, I as a player and baseball fan am so blessed that I get to see this close up and first-hand. This is something I'll be able to tell my grandchildren about."
Which is also why Roberts is pleased he wasn't dealt.
"I signed up here and this is where I want to be," he said. "I wouldn't want to change anything except our team being better than it's been.
"I think we all wish in here that our season would have been better to give Barry's home runs even more impact."
Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.