Bartolo Colon has been in American professional baseball since 1994. He's been in the Major Leagues for more than 20 years -- throwing 3,334 innings, starting 530 games, piling up 240 wins and hitting exactly one home run. He spent his childhood years in the small town of Altamira, Dominican Republic, hand-cranking thousands of crates of coffee beans per day and knocking coconuts off trees with rocks. He's seen it all. He's been everywhere. So, pitching a perfect game into the eighth inning during Sunday's Rangers-Astros game at the age of 44 just felt like another day at the ballpark. Or, at least it seemed that way. Like his counterpart Justin Verlander, Colon was dominating the 2017 World Series-winning lineup. Well, maybe not dominating. More perplexing. More mystifying. More why-can't-I-hit-this-guy-he's-older-than-my-dad. Colon's two-seamers had minds of their own -- darting and dashing over every corner of the plate like whiffle balls in a windstorm:
He struck out reigning AL batting champ José Altuve two times. The last time Altuve struck out twice in a game was September 2017.
But after walking the first batter of the eighth inning, Carlos Correa, and giving up a double to Josh Reddick, the improbable dream was over. The funny thing was, unlike most pitchers during no-hitters or perfect games, Colon did not sit by himself with his hands folded in front of his face. He was his jovial self. Casually tossing baseballs up into the air.
High-fiving teammates in the top of the seventh:
Applauding himself, as he's wont to do.
Even more rare, joking around with the hitter who broke up his masterpiece.
MLB.com's TR Sullivan talked to Colon postgame. "I'm always relaxed when I'm in the dugout; that's the way I am because that's the way I feel good. When I'm relaxed, I can do my job better." Joey Gallo was very impressed. "He was the same as always ... freaky calm. It is unbelievable to be around him. You wouldn't even know he was pitching. It's great for young guys to see that." It was fun to watch, and probably just as fun to be a nearly 45-year-old, 88-mph-slinging pitcher doing it. Colon's never thrown a no-hitter and would've been the oldest to accomplish the feat. Bart came out after 7 2/3 innings and Verlander, who also gave up just one hit, one run (Robinson Chirinos' solo HR in third), walked one and struck out 11, came out after the eighth. Neither factored in the decision, but the Rangers rallied in extras to win, 3-1.