9 pitches: Called strike (0-1). Ball (1-1). Called strike (1-2). Ball (2-2). Ball (3-2). Foul (3-2). Foul (3-2). Foul – BARTMAN. (3-2). Ball four, wild pitch, Pierre takes 3rd.
PRIOR: Same situation [as Pierre]. I'd thrown a bunch of pitches to him and a lot of them were good pitches. They were right on the black, give or take, and I was trying to get him to put the ball on the ground. Early on you're trying to get him to put the ball up in the air, where it's just a fly ball and he can't use his speed, or put the ball on the ground so we have a shot at getting one out. He just kept working the count, working the count, and somehow it never got into our favor.
Well, I should take that back. It was in my favor. But he kept fouling balls off. And then you take a pitch really close for a ball, and then he fouls the one ball off that led to the whole Bartman thing. But he was working the count. And it was frustrating. It was a frustrating at-bat.
After working the count full, Castillo fouled off three consecutive pitches, the last of which floated into the left-field stands. Moises Alou, the Cubs left fielder, gave chase.
BAKO: Castillo was just fouling off pitches, which he was tremendous at. Just staying alive with two strikes. Obviously there's no foul ground down there, and off the bat [the Bartman ball] looks like it's going to be a foul ball.
But Mo's gonna catch it, because of the way Mo had a beat on it. He jumped after it like he was making a play. Mo is not one who was full of drama. If he was going to run after a ball and make a play on it, and jump like he did, he had a very good chance of making it. And that's what it looked like to me: that he was jumping up into the stands or jumping up against the wall to catch the ball.
PRIOR: Moises definitely had a play on the ball. He probably would have caught it. But it was a foul ball. I didn't think much of it, other than like, "He should have caught that. A fan got in the way." But I want to be perfectly clear: this issue obviously has been hyped and brought up and examined over and over, and I've said this before: 95 percent of anybody in that same situation as well as the three or four other people surrounding him would have probably—and they did—reach out and try to get that foul ball.
BAKO: My reaction was probably a little bit of a "hey, fan interference" type thing. And then if not, immediately turn our attention to getting the hitter out and seeing what we could do there. Because that was either going to be turned into an out somehow, or we'll go back to square one [with] Castillo.
PRIOR: Do I think that Moises would have caught it? Yeah, probably. If he was in a position to catch balls, he caught balls. He wasn't somebody who dropped balls or made errors. He was there. It looked like he timed it perfectly and probably would have made the play. But at the point when it happened, for me, it was, "Whatever. It's a foul ball. Let's move onto the next pitch."
The next pitch was in the dirt for ball four, but it got past Bako and Pierre took third base.
BAKO: He just kept laying off pitches. He put up a helluva at-bat. And eventually you're just trying to get Castillo to put the ball in play somewhere, and hopefully it's at somebody, you know? He wasn't going to drive the ball. He's a singles hitter. So if we get him to put it in play there, we take our chances with it being a ground ball at somebody. And he ended up working a walk.
PRIOR: I know much has been played up and talked about, but honestly I was like, "Whatever. I walked a guy." I didn't think much of it. It was the 9th pitch in the at-bat. And then I probably would throw a fastball. Not because of what had just happened but because he kept fouling balls off and I felt like if I tried to put a little extra on it then maybe I would get the foul tip into Bako's glove. You put an extra mile or two on it, because obviously at that point he's got some pretty good timing on my pitches.
So that's kind of what happened—I think I just yanked it. That's how I walked him. That's more or less where the wild pitch/passed ball type thing came from. Not because we didn't catch a foul ball. I think it was a non-issue. It was a non-issue to most of us. And to be honest, nobody in the dugout even knew what happened because they can't see it. It wasn't until after the fact that we even knew anything about that situation.
REDEYE: Did you think Moises's reaction affected the team?
BAKO: No. I don't think it could have or should have. He was acting in a fired up, competitive way. If he'd reacted differently, that would have meant he didn't have a chance to catch the ball. I don't see how we could have taken that in any kind of negative situation. That's the way I look at it. Like, "Shit, it didn't work out. We gotta turn our attention and keep moving forward here."
IVAN "PUDGE" RODRIGUEZ, runners at 1st and 3rd, one out, 3-0 Cubs.
3 pitches: Foul (0-1). Swinging strike (0-2). Single to left, Pierre scores, Castillo takes 2nd.
PRIOR: The Pudge at bat. I had him 0-2. If I had anything to regret or be upset about it was that 0-2 pitch. Not the pitch itself. The execution of it. 0-2, it's got to be in the dirt no matter what. No questions asked. And I just spun it up there. Even if I had him fooled, he was a good enough hitter where he's going to throw his hands at the ball. It was sitting on a tee for him. That was a mental and physical mistake by me, and that cost us the first run, which probably led to the chain reaction.
BAKO: Prior tried to bury a curve ball, and he didn't quite get it as low as he had in previous at-bats. He just left that one up. A lesser hitter, or maybe not quite as good of a bad ball hitter as Pudge, probably wouldn't have gotten a base hit on it. But he was just a guy that with two strikes, especially, you have to go out of the zone and make him chase it. That pitch wasn't far enough out of the zone where he had to chase. It might have been a little low for another hitter, but the way [Pudge] could cover outside the strike zone, it wasn't a bad pitch for him.
PRIOR: I go back to Pudge. It starts with him, getting the out. You put that ball in the dirt—even if he takes it for a ball—I'm not saying he wouldn't have gotten a hit, but still, that's one of the first things you're taught: once you get to two strikes, you don't give him anything good to hit, and I gave him something good to hit. So he did what he was supposed to do with it.