Former Nationals lefthander Mike Bacsik.
Keith Srakocic, Associated Press
Sunday Q&A: Mike Bacsik, record home run surrenderer
- Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS
- Star Tribune
- May 29, 2011 - 12:51 AM
Q After being out of the game so long, why come on with the Cats now?
A Honestly, it was watching that run by the Texas Rangers last year. That really got my blood bubbling to give it one more try. I decided to see how it felt, and in late November I decided I'd keep at it and catch on with an independent team.
Q Is this your last shot?
A I guess we'll see. I don't want to get my hopes too high. I'm feeling good, even though I'm missing some starts [with a shoulder injury]. It's hard to explain, but even though I don't know 90 percent of the guys in this league, there's no other feeling in the world that gives you what pitching does. I missed is so much. I'm training and working to be the best I can again.
Q OK, you knew this interview was going to turn to Barry Bonds at some point.
A I haven't been asked that in a while, actually. It's funny to think that I'll always be that Trivial Pursuit side note that nobody knows. But I'll always be associated with it. There's a lot of scrutiny with the record, and rightfully so. It's not looked upon as this awesome record -- like Hank Aaron or Lou Gehrig's -- even though it is an awesome record. But there's everything behind it that makes people want to ignore it or not recognize it. That's their right, and I have no problem with it.
Q Is Bonds' record tarnished?
A Tarnished, yes. But [it] still should be in the record books, yes. Because here's the deal: There are going to be people who get inducted into the Hall of Fame -- or might already be in the Hall of Fame, I don't know for sure -- that did steroids. They just didn't get caught through a raid or a mail order or through a positive test. And there's going to be guys that don't get into the Hall of Fame -- Bonds, [Roger] Clemens, [Rafael] Palmeiro -- that people will say, "Look, we have evidence they did steroids." Well, throughout that time probably 25 to 30 percent of players were on steroids. That's my guesstimation.
Q Is Barry Bonds a Hall of Famer in your mind?
A Without a doubt. And I think Rafael Palmeiro is a Hall of Famer and Roger Clemens is a Hall of Famer. Without a doubt.
Q What goes through your mind when you see highlights of Bonds' record-breaking home run?
A It doesn't seem like it's me. But it is what it is. I got fan mail a few weeks after it. People were saying things like I'll regret throwing him a strike. And I'm like, "Look. It was one home run. I didn't give up 756 of them that day." I wonder if these guys wrote hate mail to the other 500-or-whatever pitchers who gave up home runs to him. I tried to get him out, I was not successful, and a lot of guys can say that.
Q And you doffed your cap to him that night?
A I did. And I also went over to the [Giants] clubhouse before all the media hubbub to congratulate him. I'm not disgraced or embarrassed about it. Hell, I gave up a lot of home runs to lesser players. No matter what you think of the person -- like him, hate him -- the guy had one of the best careers in Major League Baseball and I think you do have to tip your hat to him.
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