Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Mike Bacsik edition

If I received one of these, I received 100 of these this morning….

Dan and Bob,

The curse strikes again.

Mike Bacsik first was a BAD radio intern, then.......he is on the receiving end of Barry Bonds historic number 756.

Coincidence??????? Not Likely.

I Never Listen,


Yes, it is likely going to be added to the mostly fictional list that makes up the “BaD Radio Curse”. And it was with great mixed emotions that I watched the Bonds 756 moment.

On one hand, it had all of the emotions of a singular baseball moment. If it happened in Los Angeles, it would have been weird and uncomfortable, but in San Francisco, it looked like he was adored and celebrated.

Then, the Hank Aaron message seemed to ease to discomfort a bit, even if it did not feel quite 100% sincere to me.

But, on the other hand, there is our guy. Our boy. Our fine intern, and Dallas’ own Mike Bacsik.

I am proud of Mike. You have to realize, Bonds makes more money in one week than Bacsik has made in his career. Many guys will be remembered in baseball, and Mike Bacsik is not one of them; unless he was part of something historic.

Well, say hello to history. Like Ralph Branca, Ralph Terry, Al Downing, and Mitch Williams, Bacsik will be recalled as the guy who served it up.

Good for him. If nothing else, he is no longer our anonymous intern. People now know his name.

Washington Post on Bacsik

Mike Bacsik had been cool with the notion all week. He is a bit of a historian, a bit of a sports nut, so being part of one of the most momentous occasions in baseball history would be, in a way, just fine. He is, too, the son of a pitcher, and sons of pitchers know that home runs happen, and they must be shrugged off.

"You either have to be a really special player to be remembered in this game," Bacsik said late Tuesday night, "or be part of a special moment."

As it turned out, the 29-year-old lefty from Dallas -- a man who was nearly out of baseball a year ago, someone whose season began with the Washington Nationals' Class AAA affiliate -- now has his moment, however perverse. Bacsik will forever be linked with Barry Bonds, who passed Hank Aaron's all-time record Tuesday night at AT&T Park by drilling Bacsik's fifth-inning fastball into the seats in right-center field.

That the Nationals came back with a four-run eighth inning and took an 8-6 victory --
their seventh in eight games -- mattered not to those in the crowd of 43,154. The comeback featured a go-ahead double from Felipe Lopez, who told Bacsik after Bonds's historic shot not to worry, that the Nationals would win.

But with one out and the bases empty in the fifth, Bacsik, the Nationals' starter, worked Bonds to a full count. Bonds already had a single and a double, and with the wind blowing out, the possibility that he could hit his 756th homer -- the most ever -- filled the park.

The possibility rested in Bacsik's next pitch, a fastball down the middle of the plate. He is not an overpowering pitcher, and his hardest pitches top out in the mid-80s. He relies instead on breaking pitches he must control.

"The way Mike throws, he's going to give up some home runs," Bacsik's father, Michael J. Bacsik, said by telephone earlier Tuesday. "You can see that."

The elder Bacsik would know, because he spent parts of five seasons in the majors. And he would know, too, that the fastball Bacsik threw at that point wasn't good enough to sneak past a hitter of Bonds's caliber, of his accomplishments.

"I knew he couldn't overpower me with his fastball," Bonds said, "so I wanted to take his curveball out of play."

Needing to come with a strike, Bonds had done that. The fastball came at 86 mph, and Bonds simply crushed it.

As Bonds powerfully thrust both his arms in the air, knowing the result long before the ball landed, Bacsik watched the inevitable as well. When he began the season with Class AAA Columbus, he didn't know he would make it back to the majors for the first time since 2004. In a pro career dating back to 1996, he had allowed 29 homers in the big leagues, 168 more in the minors. None approached the magnitude of this shot.

"It's pretty special," Bacsik said, "to be part of history like that. ... As a kid, you always dream of this moment. Unfortunately, as a kid, you dream of being the one hitting the home run, not giving it up."

In a way, Bacsik had his father to thank, because 31 years ago, the elder Bacsik helped keep the mark at 755. That night in Arlington, Tex., Bacsik was called on in the fourth inning to face the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers' cleanup hitter that night: designated hitter Hank Aaron.

Aaron broke Babe Ruth's then-record of 714 homers in 1974, and by the time he faced Bacsik and the Texas Rangers that night -- Aug. 23, 1976 -- he was 42, six weeks from playing in his final game.

SF Chronicle on Bacsik ….

Mike Bacsik walked into the interview room like a man on top of the world. He was beaming. He absolutely couldn't wait to address the issue of giving up Barry Bonds' 756th career home run. Already, he wore the distinction as a measure of pride. It sounded as if he's ready to do so for the rest of his life.

He wasn't such a happy man when the ball sailed into history, but then again, no pitcher is thrilled about giving up a home run, whether it's to Bonds or Tripp Cromer or Dirty Al Gallagher. The Washington Nationals had won the game Tuesday night, and Bacsik had been a part of history. It all sounded wonderful to him.

"I'm just really excited right now," he said during a session that proved to be a worthy preamble to Bonds' postgame comments. "You know, I used to dream about stuff like this when I was a kid. Unfortunately, when I dreamed about it, I was the one hitting the home run."

As the place broke up in laughter, Bacsik just kept smiling. "It's something I can cherish forever," he said. "I don't mind at all having my name attached to it. This guy has done it 756 times. He's done it against Hall of Famers. Giving it up to a guy who might be the greatest player of all time - that's nothing to be ashamed of."

How is a man judged in such a moment? Giving up Henry Aaron's 715th homer, the one that broke Babe Ruth's longtime record, hardly tainted the career of Al Downing. He'd pitched on some great Yankees teams in the 1960s, and in the same year he threw the fateful pitch to Aaron (1974), he started a World Series game for the Dodgers. People associate Downing's name not with infamy, but with a bit of bad luck through a highly distinguished career.

It's not likely to work out that way for Bacsik (pronounced BASS-ick), a 29-year-old, bald-headed journeyman who labored through five seasons of professional ball before breaking into the big leagues in 2001 and spent the last two seasons in the minors. His statistical line includes no career shutouts. Most wins in a season: five. Occasions in which he'd ever mattered in the big picture: none.

As people look back on this night, decades from now, will they be able to place Bacsik's name in any other context? Will they even pronounce it properly? It sounds as if he'll be eternally grateful, owning at least something notable from a nondescript career. For those recalling the night in detail, Bacsik will be remembered for standing up to the moment, not recoiling from it.

Bacsik seems like an old-school guy. His dad, also named Mike, pitched in the big leagues for Texas and Minnesota in the late '70s. The son might be the only person left in the big leagues (outside Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, noted one observer) who wears real sanitary socks, shown all the way up to knee level, with real stirrups at the base. He's the kind of guy who makes you realize that in so many ways, the pitcher-batter confrontation hasn't changed that much since the game was invented in the 19th century.

Like an old-school guy, Bacsik didn't want to noodle around with Bonds. None of this "pitch-around" nonsense, no low-and-away breaking balls on 3-and-1. He challenged Bonds all night, getting hit hard (Bonds doubled, then singled) but feeling a sense of pride in the encounter. It wouldn't have killed him to pitch around Bonds in the moment that would define him, two outs in the fifth with nobody on. Ball four would have been explainable. But Bacsik came in with a hard fastball, thrown with great purpose.

"When I talked to my dad, he told me to just have fun, go after him, and that's what I did," Bacsik said. "I went with my best stuff against him all night. I threw him a pitch he likes to hit (laughter), and he did."

In its way, it was the most powerful home run ever hit. It cut through a hurricane of doubt, a firestorm of skepticism. No. 756 had to burrow its way through every cynic who called him a fraud, every bit of evidence that challenges its significance. Balls were carrying unusually well this night, but for Bonds, the winds of history were blowing in.

Oh yeah, and Bonds hit 756

Barry Bonds swung and then immediately threw his arms in the air, realizing that he had become the most prolific home run hitter in major league history. Everyone in the ball park instantly realized the enormity of what they had witnessed as well, watching Bonds’s latest and most important white streak soar into the night.

Bonds’s 756th homer pushed him past Hank Aaron and pushed baseball’s history into an awkward spot. He is alone now atop the career home run list. Let the debate about the authenticity of Bonds’s record begin. It will be here for a while.

With his devastating, compact swing, Bonds blasted a fastball from Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals over the fence in right center field in the fifth inning. The eager San Francisco Giants fans, who were already standing and hoping to watch their hero create history at AT & T Park, cheered, hugged and high-fived. Some even wept.
When Bonds reached home, Nikolai, his 17-year old son and a Giants’ bat boy, was there to greet him. Nikolai held up one finger to his father, a sign that Bonds was No. 1. Bonds stopped at the plate, and raised his arms high again, then pointed to the sky, a tribute to his late father, Bobby.

In a post-game news conference later, Bonds, who has been suspected of using steroids, offered a sharp response to doubts about his record.

“This record is not tainted at all, at all,” Bonds said. “Period. You guys can say whatever you want.”

All around Bonds following the homer, a party for 43,154 unfolded. There were fireworks blazing, water cannons spitting, and streamers falling. The Giants assembled near the plate to congratulate Bonds, a sea of men in white uniforms engulfing Bonds. Bonds hugged his family members and waved his helmet to the fans.
Aaron, who had distanced himself from Bonds’s pursuit, offered a congratulatory message in a videotape that he recorded about a month ago and that was played on the scoreboard. The message received a huge ovation, too, because, in some ways, Aaron’s blessing of Bonds’s performance sanctioned Bonds’s achievement. Aaron said Bonds’s accomplishment required “skill, longevity and determination,” and said that he was privileged to hold the record for 33 years.

“I move over and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historical achievement,” Aaron said. “My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.”
Later, Bonds said Aaron’s message “meant absolutely everything.” Larry Baer, the Giants’ chief operating officer, called the Aaron moment “important” and “very special” because he said it “helped create, hopefully, some closure for people.”

Bonds by the numbers

Bonds by the numbers

Teams homered off: 28
Favorite team: Padres (87)
Ballparks homered in: 36
Favorite ballpark: China Basin, 157
Favorite road ballpark: Qualcomm/Jack Murphy Stadium, 39
Home homers: 376
Away homers: 380
Day homers: 278
Night homers: 478
Pitchers homered off: 446
Off right-handers: 533
Off left-handers: 223

Favorite pitchers: Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, Terry Mulholland, Chan Ho Park (8 each)

Best inning: 1st, 131
Best month: August, 143
Best lineup spot: 3rd, 329
Grand slams: 11
Solo homers: 448
Inside-the-park homers: 3
Pinch-hit homers: 4
DH homers: 10
Multi-homer games: 71
Three-homer games: 4
Game-ending homers: 10
Homers, extra innings: 11
Homers, team ahead: 271
Homers, team behind: 270
Homers, score tied: 215
Homers, no out: 271
Homers, one out: 259
Homers, two outs: 226

Bonds' milestone home runs

No. 1 - June 4, 1986 off Craig McMurtry, at Atlanta
No. 100 - July 12, 1990 off Andy Benes, Padres , at Pittsburgh
No. 200 - July 8, 1993 off Jose DeLeon, at Philadelphia
No. 300 - April 27, 1996 off John Burkett, Marlins, at Candlestick
No. 400 - Aug. 23, 1998, off Kirt Ojala, at Florida
No. 500 -April 17, 2001, off Terry Adams, Dodgers, at China Basin
No. 600 - Aug. 9, 2002, off Kip Wells, Pirates, at China Basin
No. 660 - April 12, 2004, off Matt Kinney, Brewers, at China Basin
No. 661 - April 13, 2004, off Ben Ford, Brewers, at China Basin
No. 700 - Sept. 17, 2004, off Jake Peavy, Padres, at China Basin
No. 714 - May 20, 2006, off Brad Halsey, A's, at McAfee Coliseum
No. 715 - May 28, 2006, off Byung Hyun Kim, Rockies, at China Basin
No. 755 - Aug. 4, 2007, off Clay Hensley, Padres, at San Diego
No. 756 - Aug. 7, 2007, off Mike Bacsik, Nationals, at China Basin

Rangers Win, and to celebrate, Saltalamacchia changes his number

Hope you didn't rush out after the trade deadline to buy a Jarrod Saltalamacchia jersey.

First, unless you're of good size and strength, the last name will weigh you down.
Second, Saltalamacchia already has changed numbers. After less than a week of living life as No. 16, he has switched to No. 25 because, he says, teammates told him he "looks like a 25."

I don't think his teammates meant that literally. The last time I saw a person who looked like a 25 was the last time I played Twister, and he didn't look like a 25 for more than a spin.

In fact, the last person who I think actually looked like a number was Mickey Rivers. At 5-foot-10 and, they optimistically claimed, 165 pounds, Mickey, when you saw him from the side and he was wearing a cap and looking down, could easily have been mistaken for a "1."

Yet Rivers never wore the number he looked like. He was a 3 and a 5 early in his major league career before settling on No. 17.

So, this looking like your number, historically speaking, is more figurative than anything else.

That being said, though, I frankly don't see Saltalamacchia looking more like a 25 than a 16. Or even the 18 he wore with the Braves.

Those are "big boy" numbers, and at 6-4 and 195, Saltalamacchia seems to qualify for any of those numbers.

Worth noting is that Saltalamacchia took the No. 25 from teammate Jerry Hairston Jr. Hairston switched to No. 3, which does seem to be a better fit for someone who is 5-10 and 185.

The mid- and high-20s require more size to carry them. Frank Catalanotto, at 6-0 and 195, is a marginal qualifier for his No. 27.

Coach Fran’s Sooner Joke series is underway

It'll be interesting to see if the Leadership Council for the Texas A&M football team disciplines head coach Dennis Franchione for making fun of Oklahoma's recent off-the-field problems that resulted in NCAA sanctions.

Franchione, appearing at the Houston Touchdown Club last week, came up with the zinger while talking about the Sooners' unstable quarterback situation, according to the Houston Chronicle.

"That may be the only question they have, other than what jobs they are going to work this year," Franchione said. "That is a joke I couldn't resist."

He's not the only one.

OU has been the butt of jokes since last summer when it dismissed two players for accepting money for work not performed at a Norman car dealership. One player banished was starting quarterback Rhett Bomar, who would have been a junior this fall entering his third year as a starter.

The Sooners are looking at three inexperienced quarterbacks instead of having an all-conference performer.

Franchione's comments were relayed to Stoops at OU's media day Friday, reported the Tulsa World.

"There are a lot of people who have a lot to stay when they don't have a Big 12 championship to talk about," the paper reported, adding that Stoops strongly emphasized he was not addressing a particular coach.

It's just a coincidence that Stoops' comments fit Franchione to a T.

"There are some guys talking about, 'If this happened in this game, and this happened in that game,' in like three or four games, they'd be Big 12 champions," Stoops said, again stressing he was talking about more than one coach.

But only one team lost two games each by a point: A&M. Texas is the only other team where the reversal of a couple of plays would have put it in last year's title game.
Franchione even talked about those losses at the Big 12 Media Days in San Antonio.
"We missed being in the Big 12 Championship game by two points," Franchione said.
Those comments were expected, but his jab at the Sooners wasn't.

But who cares?

When the Aggies visit the Sooners on Nov. 3 it will be about talent and execution, not what the coaches said three months ago.

So things might not be so cordial in the future? Big deal. This is the Big 12 South. The price of winning continues to rise, and the rivalries keep intensifying.

A&M's 2002 media guide described Texas Tech fans as "classless clowns" after they tore down the goal posts at Tech's Jones Stadium following a 12-0 victory the previous year. A&M recalled and reprinted the media guide, but it'll always be remembered.

Baylor's Guy Morriss and Franchione didn't talk before or after A&M's 16-13 victory over the Bears in 2005. That stemmed from Morriss' comments regarding Baylor's 35-34 overtime victory in 2004: "I think it's a fact that we just beat their ass."
A&M beat Texas last year to end a six-game losing streak, but Longhorns are still upset about Kellen Heard's late hit on UT quarterback Colt McCoy that drew a 15-yard penalty and ejection. It surfaced again at the Big 12 Media Days when Walt Anderson, the conference's coordinator of football officials, admitted the crew missed a roughing the pass penalty call later in the game when A&M's Michael Bennett hit McCoy high.

So what if the Big 12 missed the call? The Aggies won the game, and that's what matters. If McCoy and Texas want to regain the spotlight, all they have to do is win the day after Thanksgiving. Stoops and the Sooners will have a chance to have the last laugh at Franchione's expense, just like they quieted the whole conference last year by winning another Big 12 title.

Cheap shots get attention, but there's always more to it.

More Trouble in Austin

Texas freshman defensive tackle Andre Jones, who was being held since Friday in the Travis County Jail on a charge of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, posted bond and was released Tuesday.

Jones has told Texas officials he was not with former Texas safety Robert Joseph
during an armed break-in at an east Austin apartment on July 27, as police have charged.

Jones, a Parade All-American who graduated early from El Paso Andress High School to enroll at Texas in January and go through spring drills, has told Texas officials he is a victim of mistaken identity.

Austin television reports listed Jones as a fugitive of the law who was armed and dangerous last week when Jones didn't immediately turn himself in on Thursday – the day the arrest warrant was issued.

But according to UT officials, Jones was in El Paso on Thursday attending a funeral when he learned he was being sought in connection with the July 27 break-in. Jones offered to turn himself in in El Paso but was told by the judge presiding over the case that he could turn himself in on Friday when he returned to Austin, which he did, according to UT officials.

Jones, who had been held in jail on $40,000 bond, has been suspended indefinitely by coach Mack Brown pending the outcome of the legal process.

Joseph remains in the Travis County Jail on $25,000 bond after being accused, along with Jones, of using a gun to steal cash, cell phones and video gaming equipment.

Mike Bacsik = Good Dude

I would like to thank the Cowboys for another training camp. Day 11 of 11 has arrived, and it is now time to pack my stuff and get up 35 after the show.

Game 1 of the preseason is tomorrow.


Flaco said...

Drunk Jedis from yesterdys blog > baseball stories.

This is for Barry..... *

When is Mavs and Stars training camp?

-so defeated by summer

Bitterwhiteguy said...

gay/not gay: male beat writers for the Star-Telegram playing Twister with other men.

Jake said...


Bonds...bleh...still haven't seen the home run. Here's to A-Rod passing him. Solace, no, but I'll take it.

Please football, begin.

mrowlou said...

BAD Radio...


Pretty Please???

Instead, can you get Fran? That will guarantee that he loses his job by December... what a jack ass.

CFB123 said...

I agree that Fran would make a great choice for a BAD Radio weekly guest, but I don't know that I could stand listening to his freaking Kermit the Frog voice every week until December.