Didn't Make the Paper, Volume Bonds
So there's almost too much to get your arms around with Tuesday night's events, but here's our shot with Sheinin's brilliant take on A1 and my take on Bacsik and his dad kind of meeting at history. Pretty interesting stuff.
But obviously, there was more. And one of the things you go through as a writer at a time like this is second-guessing yourself about what you put in and what you left out. So let me just throw out a sample of things that came up that didn't get in anywhere in our coverage. (Oh, how we wish this had happened on the East Coast, where time would have allowed us a more thorough report in the $.35 edition.)
The local Washington reporters actually got to talk to Bacsik before the last out of the ninth inning, and he had this to say about how he pitched Bonds:
"I wanted to fastball down and away for a strike, and unfortunately I got it up and down the middle of the plate, and he put his Barry Bonds swing on it."
I have to tell you at this point that Mike Bacsik is about to become a national media darling. He has handled this thing brilliantly for more than a week, showing an understanding of history and a self-effacing manor that have endeared him to the media that have gathered here. Be prepared for lots of Mike Bacsik stories in the next week. (Including, perhaps, one from me about whether, with Shawn Hill coming back, he'll be able to keep his spot in the rotation.)
Bacsik, it seems to me, has the type of personality that would allow him to withstand such a historic moment. I asked him about that.
"I think so," he said. "It's Barry Bonds. He's the greatest home run hitter of all time. I didn't give up a home run to a guy who had gone 3,000 at-bats without a home run."
Manager Manny Acta said he wished Bacsik could have toned it down a bit. He really thought he was hyped for history.
"He's a guy who is very knowledgeable and is a big-time fan of the game," Acta said. "Today, I just really thought that he was way too pumped up for this game. To me, he wasn't pitching the way he usually pitches."
Which means he was throwing with too much effort. And, in fact, there was some sentiment that with a 3-2 count, one out and no one on in the fifth inning of a 4-4 game, it might have been better for Bacsik to throw a curveball low and away, rather than the fateful fastball he came with.
"Fastballs," Acta said. "Every one of them have the same velocity, 86 mph."
Still, the Nationals almost universally applauded Bonds. Acta said he didn't instruct his players in what to do, but wanted it to be spontaneous. Most of the Nationals players would quietly and privately admit that they believe Bonds used steroids. But for one moment, it didn't matter.
"It's a family," Acta said. "Everyone that plays the game and coaches the game, is also a fan. We follow up everything that is going all around. We just wanted to win the ballgame. It came at a very unfortunate moment when we were tied. It was time to pay tribute to him."
Even in a 5-4 game. In all of this, of course, the Nationals' game gets lost, and that might be the best part of waking up Wednesday. They rallied for four runs in the eighth inning, taking an 8-6 win, and that left them tied with Florida for fourth place in the NL East. Translation: They're out of last for the first time since April.
I will rise on Wednesday morning Pacific time (probably noon back east) and head to my favorite breakfast place in San Francisco, Mama's on Washington Square. And I will want to know from you: Do you think Mike Bacsik, who seemed at ease with his new status, handled being the victim of Bonds's historic blast appropriately?
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