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Floating fan happy to return No. 66004/12/2004 9:39 PM ET
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- You'd figure a colorful, inflated-boat skipper who routinely bobs his rubber craft off the concrete shores of McCovey Cove trolling for baseballs during Giants games at SBC Park would be in heaven by now. And decidedly richer. After all, Fairfield, Calif., resident Larry Ellison -- no, not the Oracle chief executive -- watched Barry Bonds' career homer No. 660 splash right in front of his air-filled kayak on Monday during the Giants' Opening Day game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Easy. The 53-year-old baseball fan, who oddly enough is a computer sales exec, simply reached over his boat and scooped up the historic ball. Ah, you can hear the cry now. Bonanza, baby! Get the bids in now for Barry's famed ball that tied the Say Hey Kid's lifetime homer number! Nope. After a security person witnessed the fishing expedition, Ellison and his 23-year-old son Jeremy were escorted into the park and gave the ball to Bonds and Mays only moments later. Gratis. No greed, but perhaps some memorabilia in appreciation, he hoped. "There wasn't a battle for the ball," Ellison said. "There were five or six people in front of my boat, with one guy leaning back and not paying attention. "We thought about it [selling the ball] -- everybody dreams about that. But we thought Barry and Willie should have the ball." Ellison, known for wearing an Arnold Schwarzenegger mask and a T-shirt reading "Arnold the Governator" while floating on the cove, has seen only a handful of games inside SBC Park and has spent some 15 days and nights plying the waters where Splash Hits -- Giants homers that reach there on the fly -- land. He's grabbed about a dozen batting-practice shots, so this was his most significant baseball, a keeper he didn't keep. "It was important for them," said Ellison of Bonds and Mays.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.