Photo Credit: calltothepen.com
Except for spending half of the 2002 season with the Montreal Expos, Colón played his previous 16 years in the American League before signing with the Mets in 2014. Pitching in the American League obviously means you do not focus on hitting because of the designated hitter. Before joining the Mets, Colón registered only 104 plate appearances, which produced 10 hits and 56 strikeouts.
Colón put on a show in every single one of his at-bats in Queens. Even though most of his at-bats resulted in his helmet flying further than the ball, Mets fans adored Big Sexy’s hefty swings and misses. Despite all of Colón’s flails at the plate, he smiled through them all. More importantly, baseball fans knew that if he ever made contact, Bartolo Colón could provide some serious thunder.
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report
Yoenis Céspedes opened the festivities with a two-run home run in the first inning. Little did anyone know; it was not the only two-run bomb they would see that night. As the game moved to the top of inning number two, the Mets’ lower part of the batting order looked to extend their 2-0 lead.
After Neil Walker lined out and Asdrúbal Cabrera grounded out, Kevin Plawecki doubled to center field. Most Mets fans were probably happy solely because it brought up Colón, which meant the pitcher’s spot would be cleared and the top of the Mets’ lineup would lead off in the third inning. No one knew what was about to happen.
A Bartolo Colón at-bat was a roll of the dice. Sometimes Colón took three fastballs right down the middle and went back to the dugout. Other times Colón went up there hacking viciously, and this was one of those times.
Colón calmly took the first pitch for ball one and then the second pitch for strike one. Looking to get ahead in the count, Shields figured there was no harm in grooving another meatball over the dish with Colón in the box. Well, Colón sent Shields’ poor little meatball flying 365 feet.
If the night could not get any more memorable, Bartolo’s bomb turned out to be the game-winning hit. After Colón allowed a three-run home run to Jon Jay in the bottom of the third, he and the Mets’ bullpen held down the fort.
Runs were not scored again until the top of the ninth inning, when David Wright and Michael Conforto joined the home run parade with back-to-back solo shots. Jeurys Familia nailed down the 6-3 win for the Mets and Colón with his ninth save of the season. Big Sexy homered and was the winning pitcher all in the same game.
Photo Credit: theguardian.com
Bartolo Colón’s at-bats used to be comedy, but like a shooting star, his bat struck baseball. So next time you watch Bartolo Colón’s hitting highlights, just know that all those flails and flying helmets paid off. To quote Gary Cohen, “You knew if he ever made contact in just the right way he was strong and enough to do it, and now Bartolo has brought down the house.”
George Whitbread may have Cerebral Palsy, but he does not let it slow him down in achieving his goals. George is a St. John’s University student studying journalism as an aspiring sports broadcaster. The Oceanside New York native began chasing his broadcasting dream back in high school when he did play-by-play and public address announcing for his school’s football and boy’s and girl’s lacrosse teams. At St. John’s, George is an active member in the school’s radio station, WSJU. With WSJU, George has two sports radio shows and frequently does play-by-play or color commentary for St. John’s men’s and women’s basketball and baseball.
George has been working for the New York Mets since 2016 as a member of the promotions staff. Last summer, George increased his role in the Mets organization when he took on a second job as a tour guide. It is George’s true love for the Mets and baseball that makes him love what he does. It is George’s dream to one day end up in a broadcast booth, but the Mets booth would be an extra special place to call home.