LOS ANGELES — The picture show that is Barry Bonds' slow-speed pursuit of baseball history will not have a Hollywood ending.

Unless it takes Bonds more than a month to hit his next two home runs.

For the Giants do not return to the city of stars until Sept. 7, exactly five weeks — and 32 games — from away.

Bonds came to Los Angeles on Tuesday with 754 career homers and left Thursday with the same number, remaining one away from tying and two away from breaking Henry Aaron's all-time career record. In three games at Dodger Stadium, Bonds went 1-for-7, his lone hit a line single on Thursday.

More telling, though, are the five walks Bonds received from Dodgers pitchers.

No doubt this is at least partly attributed to the rest of San Francisco's lineup. Bonds remains more dangerous than anybody who might bat behind him, whether it's Bengie Molina (Tuesday), Ryan Klesko (Wednesday) or Pedro Feliz (Thursday).

Mostly, though, it was a case of avoiding an innocuous bit of infamy. The Dodgers were exceedingly careful with Bonds because they wanted no part of the history he might make in their ballpark.

Whether it was Brad Penny on Tuesday or Mark Hendrickson onWednesday or Brett Tomko on Thursday, L. A. starters pitched Bonds as if he were still in his prime. They nibbled at the edges of the plate. They tried to bust him inside. If Bonds didn't get himself out, they seemed content to walk him.

We now know Dodgers manager Grady Little was serious the other day.

"It's a special time, a special time for the game," Little had said of the atmosphere surrounding these games. "Everybody wants to be a part of it.

"Except us."

It was as if the Dodgers ignored Bonds' age or the fact that, aside from the two-homer game July 19 in Chicago, he has looked every hour of his 43 years.

The Dodgers were not emboldened by Barry's relatively lethargic plate appearances, nor where they lulled into comfort with his sub-.200 batting average since the All-Star break.

While some fans at Chavez Ravine clearly anticipated being witness to history, others found ways to convey protest. One banner in the third deck on Tuesday was particularly pointed: "Not in Jackie's house!"

As conflicted as their fans were, captivated by and obsessed with Bonds, the Dodgers basically ducked the slugger. They took their three sellouts, banked them and sent Bonds on his way.

People, please. Pitch to the man. Go ahead and take your shots. Barry is not the big, bad, basher he used to be.

Indeed, during these very games, Bonds often looked like a man trying to hit two homers at once, to bring the curtain down on the show.

Other times, he looked as if he had no idea what he wanted to do at the plate.

Take, for example, Bonds' fifth inning at-bat. He got himself out by lunging at a pitch out of the strike zone and golfing it almost straight up. The lack of plate discipline, the poor balance — it was the kind of swing the Barry Bonds of yore normally would not dare be associated with.

The Dodgers looked right past it. The next time Bonds came up, in the seventh inning, with reliever Scott Proctor on the mound, Little ordered an intentional walk.

OK, it was sound strategy, setting up a potential inning-ending double play. The strategy succeeded only in getting Bonds out of the game and sending thousands of fans toward the parking lot, as Feliz foiled the plan by whacking an RBI single to left.

The Dodgers and their pitchers are willing to live with that, though. That won't put anybody into the record book.

That will, however, prolong the agony. Or the ecstasy, depending on your point of view.

"Trying to hit a home run ... you don't know when it's going to happen," said Frank Robinson, the Hall of Famer who spent the evening pinch-hitting for commissioner Bud Selig. "You don't know. It might take weeks. You don't know."

This pursuit, only five games long, seems to have dragged on for two weeks. It's the same scene on a daily basis. Dozens of medioids stuffed into the Giants clubhouse before and after the game. Dozens of photographers and TV camera operators on the field before and during the game. Thousands of fans clapping and booing, and loving and hating, but taking pictures every time Bonds comes to the plate.

Everybody watching, waiting, eyes squarely focused on one man.

And the Dodgers, based in the land of the dramatic, doing their part to minimize the drama.

So Bonds takes the show to San Diego, where he has hit more home runs than in any city other than the two — Pittsburgh and San Francisco — he has called home.

And where tonight Bonds, should he be in the starting lineup, would face Greg Maddux. The ultracompetitive Mad Dog, speaking to Associated Press, implied he was willing to pitch around Bonds.

It appears those interested in this saga had better settle into your seat. It will end, eventually, but not in Hollywood.

Monte Poole can be reached at (510) 208-6461 or by e-mail at

mpoole@angnewspapers.com.