Shark Week with Roger Bernadina
As you may know, it is officially Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. With our very own Shark – outfielder Roger Bernadina – coming off a stellar road trip that saw him bat .533 (8-for-15) with a .611 on-base percentage, four runs scored, three RBI, two stolen bases and a pair of highlight reel catches, we figured it was the perfect time to sit down and get caught up.
What did you think when you were first approached with the nickname “The Shark?”
In the beginning, I thought it was funny. After a while I realized it was starting to get big. It’s fun, I like the nickname “Shark.” It’s great. The fans love it, I love it.
Have you ever watched Shark Week?
Yeah, I saw it on the Discovery Channel. Actually, I was watching it the other day.
It may be a coincidence, but you have to feel good about playing well during Shark Week.
Yeah, (the team) is all about it and I like it. It’s Shark Week and everyone’s talking about it.
Speaking of, where does the game-saving catch you made in Houston rank in your career?
It’s probably one of the best catches I’ve made. To end the game? It’s always good to win a ballgame. It was definitely a big moment.
Had you ever made a big play for the last out before?
Yeah, that happened before. But in the Major Leagues, it’s different. It’s something you dream about as a kid, to make that kind of catch.
What’s your mentality, being ready to come off the bench at a moment’s notice (like Tuesday in San Francisco)?
Skip (Davey Johnson) gave me a heads up that I might be in there. You just go out there, trust your talent and focus for the game, and just go about your business. I don’t really think about it much.
Does your pinch-hitting experience help you get ready to step in when you need to?
Yes and no. My focus has been better. I watch video and stay to my plan and it’s worked. Coming off the bench is definitely different. Yeah, that’s actually helped a little bit. I’ve been using a shorter bat, too.
Mark DeRosa was the one who suggested you use the lighter bat. How did that conversation come about?
I was hitting in the cage when he came up and he said, “Bernie, that’s a heavy bat.” I said “No, it’s ok.” And he told me, “You’re so strong, you can use a lighter bat.” So I said, “Alright, why not?” That day I was in the cage, I started using the lighter bat, and I’ve been using it ever since.
How many years had you used the heavier bat?
I had used that weight since 2010. I mostly used it for the past few years. But ever since DeRo told me to use the lighter bat, I’ve been going with the other one.
Catch The Shark and the rest of the Nationals all week long as they take on the division-rival Mets August 17-19 and Braves in a huge matchup, August 20-22.