SAN FRANCISCO -- AND so it's a wrap. Faded to black with a long fly out to Triples Alley in the sixth inning on a typically pleasant autumn evening by the Bay in yet another Giants loss. As drama goes, it wasn't exactly No. 756 or even No. 178, the latter the home run that came in his first home at-bat as a Giant and christened a 15-year run that made him the most polarizing athlete in Bay Area history.

The Barry Bonds Story, for all intent, is in the books. The man may yet play in another uniform, may even add to his career total of 762 home runs, but let's face it, that would be a bonus feature on the DVD. He's a Giant, for better or worse, and now that he has an ex- next to that name, let the synopses be written.

So it was that sentimentality freaks in the House that Bonds Might as Well Have Built may have dabbed away a tear or two when Bonds took his final swing, a 2-0 pitch from San Diego's Jake Peavy that he didn't quite crush. Not that Bonds was among them. He didn't even see fit to thank the fans -- his "family" as he has called them -- when it was over.

All of which seemed to make this the perfect ending for The Ending, because Bonds and schmaltz have always turned the stomach like red vines and Coke.

Thus, the most provocative scene Wednesday came not on the field but inside Bonds' former clubhouse (and if there's any doubt that it wasn't he who ruled the roost in there, here's a reality pill).


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There, slightly more than an hour before the first pitch, fellow Giants legends Willie Mays and Willie McCovey relaxed inside the office of longtime clubhouse manager Mike Murphy, shooting the bull, watching television and generally enjoying the spoils that come with having once been the face of a franchise.

Bonds? Well, it sure was difficult -- no, make that borderline impossible -- to picture him doing the same thing a decade down the line.

This is not to say it won't happen. The Giants have honored their history in a top-notch way since managing partner Peter Magowan and company bought the club in 1992 -- witness the number of times they trot out Mays, Bonds' godfather, for the requisite applause each year -- and Bonds' career may be the only one that has ever inspired comparison to Mays. So he's earned membership to the club.

Too, the 42,926 on hand for his finale gave him a glimpse of what just such a reception would be like. They stood and cheered Bonds for several moments upon his departure after the sixth inning, and Bonds tipped his cap before taking his toys, er bats, and heading home. It was a warm moment, the kind that you could see repeating itself ad nauseam down the road.

But 15 years of Bonds has surely revealed that nothing is ever that straightforward.

"It's hard," executive vice president and chief operating officer Larry Baer said. "I think when Willie (Mays) first retired, from all account, it wasn't easy ... I talked to Willie about that, and he said he couldn't even sit in the stands in the immediate aftermath."

The immediate aftermath to this cutting of the cord, of course, is hardly worthy of lit cigars. Bonds has overstayed his welcome with the Giants, a fact made perfectly clear by Magowan's pink slip and by a clubhouse so tired of Bonds' antics that one player summed up the final day by saying, "I would imagine I speak for a lot of guys in here when I say I equate this to the house landing on the Wicked Witch of the East."

One not-so-small detail, of course, is that Bonds has not yet retired. Going that route would've made for a romantic finale, but romance takes sacrifice and a concern for others, and -- at least as far as baseball goes -- Bonds lost that desire about the time he lost his need for diapers.

Nevertheless, he walked off the field for the final time Wednesday as a Giants immortal, destined forever to be mentioned in any conversation that invokes the names Mays, McCovey, Marichal and Mathewson. And even if Bonds and the Giants seem to be feeling about as warm and fuzzy toward each other as a bickering couple, time and space usually make a perfect tonic.

"I think the best thing to do is let him take it at his own pace to see if re-engagement is possible," Baer said. "I'm sure he'll want some down time when he retires, and ... after that, I'm sure we'll talk and see what he wants to do."

In other words, the dance may yet be resumed. But for now, it's time to let some other folks out on the floor.

Contact Rick Hurd at rhurd@bayareanewsgroup.com.