Bacsik takes homer notoriety in stride
Nats left-hander 'proud' to be part of history-making night
SAN FRANCISCO -- A day after giving up Barry Bonds' record-breaking 756th home run, Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik acknowledged he didn't get enough sleep.After the 8-6 victory over the Giants, Bacsik went out for a few hours with one of his best friends. Instead of sleeping in, Bacsik woke up early in the morning to appear on a dozen TV and radio shows to talk about being a part of history. Bacsik later spoke to his father and more reporters about the game he pitched. Somehow, he managed to get in his running and lifting drills at AT&T Park and watch the replay of Bonds' home run on TV at least 100 times. "I understand the moment. It's a part of history," Bacsik said. "Even when somebody breaks it, it will be a moment forever. I'm proud to be part of the moment." When Bacsik went out with his friend late Tuesday night, there were fans who recognized the left-hander and bought him two drinks. "The ones that recognized me were at the game," Bacsik said. Bacsik, 29, became the 446th pitcher to give up a home run to Bonds. Bacsik had a serious problem getting Bonds out throughout the game. In the second inning, Bonds doubled and then singled in the next inning. In the fifth, Bacsik threw a steady diet of breaking balls. Bonds worked the count to 3-2 before Bacsik grooved a fastball to Bonds, who hit the ball over the right-center-field wall As far as his overall performance goes, Bacsik pitched five innings and gave up five runs on seven hits. "I was disappointed that Michael didn't throw better. I thought he threw too many fastballs as well," said the older Mike Bacsik, who has the distinction of facing Hank Aaron in 1976. "He is not a power pitcher, as we all know. Sometimes you can get caught up in the moment. But overall, I thought he handled himself extremely well. I'm proud of my son. He is a Major League pitcher and Major League person. [The Major League person] is important to me." The younger Bacsik received a lot of praise for the grace and humor he displayed after giving up Bonds' record-breaking home run. It was Bacsik who went in the Giants clubhouse to congratulate Bonds. It was Bacsik who gave the media unlimited time when it came to talking about the home run. One reason Bacsik was so gracious was because the Nationals won the game. "I was most impressed with the pitcher competing against Bonds. I thought that was a really good message that he sent and the Nationals sent," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd praised Bacsik for the way he challenged Bonds. "You admire him. He wasn't afraid to pitch to him. His kids will have something to talk about for a long time -- and they'll see replays. 'Hey, Dad, that's you.'" There were people who were worried about how Bacsik reacted to giving up the home run. The replay showed that Bacsik was upset. So after he left the game, Bacsik received a call from good friend A.J. Hinch, the Diamondbacks' director of player development, who left a phone message trying to console the left-hander. Little did Hinch know that Bacsik was basking in the glow of the moment. "He wanted to make sure that I was OK just because of the reaction I gave on TV," Bacsik said. "He said I looked really down. He called before I gave the press conference. He wanted to make sure that I was OK." Bacsik is more than OK. He is celebrating the moment.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.