Barry Bonds slaps hands with fans as he crosses the top of the dugout during player introductions. (Pat Sullivan-Pool/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Make no mistake, Giants star Barry Bonds loves the All-Star Game.
As a 13-time selection, he's become familiar with the regimen, the interviews, the massive media attention and total hoopla of the celebrity-laden summer baseball festival.
Yet when it comes to sheer competition, give him the real thing. "This One Counts" is the theme for the 75th Midsummer Classic and the winning team gets the home-field advantage in the World Series this fall. So there's meaning beyond mere exhibition and showmanship.
Bonds made it clear, though, where he stands. Baseball life resumes Thursday when the Giants face the National League West rival Colorado Rockies in the opener of a four-game set.
"I only care about the season, brother," said Bonds prior to Tuesday's event at Minute Maid Park, where the American League extended its unbeaten streak to eight years with a 9-4 victory. "I'll tell you that right now. The All-Star Game? I love to be here, the fans vote for you and it's a great honor.
"But I want another World Series -- that's all I think about."
The left fielder, who turns 40 on July 24, went 0-for-2 at the contest, flying out to center in the first inning, walking in the third and popping out to second in the fourth.
He was not available postgame.
Giants All-Star pitcher Jason Schmidt has won his last 11 decisions and owns a 2.51 ERA in the first half, but he elected not to compete in the event. He threw 127 pitches in a 9-2 victory over Arizona on Sunday and is scheduled to start vs. Colorado on Saturday at Coors Field.
Jason Schmidt / P
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
"We talked about it, and I think the Giants would have preferred me not to pitch on a bullpen day," said Schmidt. "I went almost 130 pitches on Sunday, so you have to be smart about it."
National League skipper Jack McKeon told Schmidt if things got tight or the game went into extra innings, he would call on the 31-year-old star as an emergency guy. But it wasn't to be.
"It was hard sitting there, I'll tell you that," said Schmidt, who started last season's game in Chicago and hurled two innings. "I only played catch in the outfield. During the game I told the guys, 'I think I changed my mind -- I want to play.'"
Schmidt said he's anxious to get back to the regular season, noting the Giants are only a half-game out of first in the NL West.
"It took a lot of hard work to get where we are, and we just hope nobody goes down early."
Bonds said he enjoyed being in the Century 21 Home Run Derby on Monday night, one of the most popular events at the game considering nearly 42,000 fans and a national TV audience saw the slugging contest.
"I got tired, man. Hitting and sitting for an hour, that was tough for me," he said. "It was good, though, it was fun. I had a good time. I wish Junior [Ken Griffey Jr.] was there to make the whole 500 [homer] thing bigger, but unfortunately he got hurt.
"It was like a bummer for us. We all looked forward to that. But there's still a chance for next year. None of us are retired yet. We do have a chance to get into it again. But you have to earn it. You have to hit homers during the season. It's an honor to get in."
Bonds crashed eight homers in the Derby's first round but slumped to three in the second. Just like he said, it was a bit tiring. He did like Astros batting-practice pitcher Doug Davis pitching to him, however.
"He chose me and I said, 'Let's go out and do it.' He threw great. It was good for [Houston's] Lance Berkman, the hometown boy. They were all rooting for him."
The National League hasn't won the All-Star Game since 1996 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, oddly the only time Bonds captured the Home Run Derby crown.
"I don't keep track of that," said Bonds. "I know we won in Pittsburgh [8-7 in 1994]. We always seem to be winning, but at the end we end up losing."
Former Giants pitcher Joe Nathan, meanwhile, said it was "beyond his dreams" after becoming a first-time All-Star this season.
Traded to Minnesota in the offseason along with minor league hurlers Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano for catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Nathan added he harbors no ill feelings toward his former club.
"I didn't take it as anything personal," said the right-handed reliever, who has saved 23 of 24 games this season and didn't allow a run in 23 contests for the Twins. "They were hesitant to do it, but it was something they couldn't pass up to get an All-Star catcher.
"They gave me a good opportunity with Minnesota," said Nathan, a favorite among Giants fans. "Coming from where I was in 2001 and battling injury down in Double-A was tough, but it was a longer road than that. It was a long process and I knew I'd come back, but this year I don't think I could have written it any better."
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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