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First Down

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Take Your Pick Will Barry Bonds intentionally not break the record on the road?

1. The case for breaking the record: Ideal situation or not, Bonds wants to break the home run record as soon as possible. The longer his hitting slump, the longer the national media will travel to wherever the Giants play.

2. The case for inaction: Maybe Giants manager Bruce Bochy will rest Bonds a few games. Maybe pitchers will walk Bonds intentionally so they're not tied to the home run chase. There would be nothing more uncomfortable for Bonds than to break the record in a hostile environment.

Our Take: It"s pretty tough to avoid hitting two home runs in six games without making it obvious. Then again, Bonds is hitting .193 this month and went 5-for-20 (.250) with one home run and one RBI in the Giants" recent seven-game homestand.

TWT FIVE Ways fans can respond to Bonds breaking the home-run record

1. Silence: Hank Aaron deserves the record more, but even if Bonds took steroids, he wouldn"t be breaking the record if he didn"t have the knack for hitting. Though grand jury testimony suggests Bonds used steroids, his stature has allowed other players and commissioner Bug Selig to receive less criticism.

2. Pull a Hank Aaron: Don"t show up to the game. Bonds will have no one to tip his hat to when he rounds the bases.

3. Boo: No commemorative DVD would be able to ignore fans booing Bonds for breaking a record that should have an asterisk.

4. Read Game of Shadows: Fans can pull the routine during starting lineup introductions. It"s a perfect way to show apathy and to read how Bonds admitted taking steroids according to leaked grand-jury testimony.

5. Suck it up: Alex Rodriguez eventually will break the record again anyway.

HE SAID WHAT?

He's going to have to answer that. When you involve yourself in something like that, there are questions to be asked. — Frank Thomas on Barry Bonds" reported steroid use

TONIGHT'S BEST BET ON TELEVISION

Technically, ESPN will be broadcasting either The Bronx is Burning or SportsCenter, but it will cut to Barry Bonds' at-bats during the Giants" game against the Dodgers, during which viewers can witness either fans booing or the slugger intentionally not breaking the home run record. 10:10 p.m., ESPN