Bacsiks' pitching careers have taken some eerily similar turns

Bacsiks' pitching careers have taken some eerily similar turns

07/05/2011 11:34 PM

07/06/2011 12:01 AM

They played five seasons in Major League Baseball, crossed paths with home run kings and are the first father-son combination to play for the Texas Rangers.

Now Mike Bacsik Jr. and his dad are in the middle of their first season with the Fort Worth Cats. They are believed to be the first father-son combination on that team as well.

"We're two totally different pitchers, but the paths are both kind of eerily similar," Bacsik Jr. said. "Both made it to the big leagues, but I don't think either of us had the success we hoped for or wanted in the big leagues."

Bacsik Jr. said he felt like he had an opportunity to have a spot in the rotation going into 2003 while playing for the New York Mets and manager Bobby Valentine. But then Valentine was fired and the Mets brought in Art Howe, whose plans for the team did not include Bacsik.

The same can be said about Bacsik Sr., who is in his first season as the Cats' pitching coach.

"With my dad he had Billy Martin, who liked him and had him as part of the staff and once Billy was let go, my dad was pretty much let go from the team too, so that was somewhat similar."

Barry Bonds hit his record 756th home run on Aug. 7, 2007 against Bacsik Jr., who was pitching for the Washington Nationals. His father pitched to Hank Aaron when Aaron was at 755 home runs.

"Seeing my son being able to pitch in the big leagues makes me feel like the proudest man alive," Bacsik Sr. said.

Bacsik Sr. played for the Rangers from 1975-77, posting an ERA of 4.50 in 32 games. His son made three starts for the Rangers in 2004 and was 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA.

"Growing up a Texas Ranger fan and my dad playing for the Rangers and then getting to be the first ever son of a Ranger to play for [the Rangers] was a special moment," Bacsik Jr. said. "I remember when I was warming up against the Detroit Tigers, which was my first start there, and just looking in the mirror and seeing the Rangers uniform on and seeing that I made it as a Texas Ranger was really special to me."

Bacsik, who is 2-4 with a 4.04 ERA with the Cats this season, said the Rangers' run to the World Series last year inspired him to get back in the game.

"Watching them on the biggest stage and thinking that I could do it one more time and [I] thought this was the avenue or best opportunity for me to come back to see if I could do it," he said.

Bacsik Sr. got a call from Cats manager Stan Hough during the off-season.

"It was an opportunity for me to get back to the game and try to help the kids get an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues," he said. "I want to keep the guys healthy and teach them how to prepare for the game mentally and physically and also try to make it fun for them."

Bacsik Jr. has been offering advice to some of the other pitchers to try and help them make it to the big leagues. One of those pitchers is his road-game roommate, Derek Blacksher.

"I've learned a lot from him," Blacksher said. "Especially about the mental side of pitching and just believing in yourself and in your pitches. His message has been to keep it simple and don't try to do too much."

Hough said the first season for the Bacsiks has been positive.

"They both have experience at a major-league level and their wealth of experience has been huge and successful for the team," Hough said.

Bacsik Jr. said he gets a lot of questions from teammates.

"I call them unanswerable questions because if somebody had the answers to them they would have a whole bunch of money," he said. "But they have great questions and you try to answer questions as best as you can and from your experience of how to handle different situations and then also tell them how you handled situations wrong and how you learned from doing things wrong."

After baseball, Bacsik Jr. hopes to get another chance in radio. He was fired from KTCK/1310 AM "The Ticket" in 2010 after he posted offensive comments on Twitter during the Mavericks' playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

"It's the worst mistake I made in my life so far and hopefully I don't make anything worse," Bacsik Jr. said.

He is pursuing a degree at UT Arlington in university studies.

"As a kid I wanted to be my dad," Bacsik Jr. said. "He is my hero, my idol, so it is interesting that he is everything that I wanted to be and I ended up being very similar to him in his career in baseball at least."

Travis Detherage

817-390-7760

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