SAN FRANCISCO -- For Giants fans, the best thing about home run No. 756 was that Barry Bonds hit it at home, in front of all his supporters who have been loyal through thick and thin. And when he finally rewarded their unwavering dedication, AT&T Park exploded as never before on Tuesday.
When Bonds came up to bat in the fifth inning, the fans were already on their feet. When he worked a full count against the Nationals' Mike Bacsik, AT&T Park rocked with cheers of "Barry, Barry!" When Bonds lined it toward right-center field, the reaction from the sold-out crowd of 43,154 was overpowering as thousands of cameras flashed as Bonds raised his arms in triumph and fireworks exploded.
As he rounded the bases and met his teammates at home plate, the deafening cheers continued. Bonds tipped his helmet and took a bow, but the fans remained standing in admiration of their favorite performer. They had just witnessed the sports memory of a lifetime and they savored it.
The fans stood up cheering for several minutes while baseball stood still at AT&T.
"We'll never forget this, and I know I'll never forget how the fans reacted for Barry," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I actually saw tears in a lot of people's eyes, close to the dugout there. That's how happy they were for him."
For Kevin Stinson, who drove all the way from Modesto with his 7-year-old son, Hunter, it was the ultimate experience.
"This is the only game I've been to all year," Stinson said. "I had a feeling he was going to do it. I'm going to save this ticket stub for sure."
While some fans double-checked for their ticket stubs, others crowded the merchandise vendors. Everyone was looking for dated memorabilia or something to take home to remember the game by.
Bonds fan Greg Smith was just happy to witness history. He's been a Bonds fan since he was slugging home runs for the Pirates. He had tickets to 12 games this year, but never expected one of them would be good for an in-person viewing of his favorite player making baseball history.
Smith wasn't sure it was a home run until he saw Bonds raise his arms at home plate.
"Barry can tell," he said. "I couldn't tell because it was to the deep part of the yard, but that little bit of anticipation was really cool."
Jessica Belluomini was still fired up one inning later as she maneuvered through the crowd starting chants of "756."
"I don't care what anybody says, Bonds is the boss out there," Belluomini said. "I don't think I've ever experienced such excitement in life."
The Giants lost, but the excitement remained, and fans left the park cheering and smiling.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.