Bonds: Tough Call

As Barry Bonds nears Babe Ruth's career total of 714 home runs, play-by-play announcers are facing an awkward first: how do you call a jubilant moment that many people believe is, on some level, a fraud? "We've talked about it at length," says Vince Doria, news director for ESPN, which plans to air the eclipsing homer live. "It needs to be a call that recognizes the achievement, but tempers the moment." Adding to the complexity is that Bonds could be under federal indictment for perjury when his history-making shot occurs. When it does, the man in the booth will likely be Jon Miller, ESPN's top announcer, and, while the network is calling the shots, says Doria, "we're not going to put a script into his hands." (Miller could not be reached for comment.) But what about the local San Francisco broadcasts, which are controlled by the Giants franchise? Will their announcers be free to call it as they see it? The team didn't return calls from NEWSWEEK. In the end, the tone of the play-by-play call could hinge on where the homer occurs. Bonds, who has denied knowingly using steroids, has drawn cheers at home. On the road, it's been a whole different ball game.

Bonds: Tough Call | News