Will somebody please sign Bartolo Colon?For one, Big Sexy isn't getting any younger. For another, I'm guessing he'll shock opposing hitters and common sense again during a few more trips to the pitcher's mound with his 44-year-old right arm.Whatever happens, I'm good. I have one of Colon's bobblehead dolls. Yes,
Will somebody please sign Bartolo Colon?
For one, Big Sexy isn't getting any younger. For another, I'm guessing he'll shock opposing hitters and common sense again during a few more trips to the pitcher's mound with his 44-year-old right arm.
Whatever happens, I'm good. I have one of Colon's bobblehead dolls. Yes, I do, because I live in Atlanta, and when the Braves held a promotion night at SunTrust Park a few weeks ago for the most huggable Major League player since who knows who, I was among those packing the stands.
Nothing against the Braves, but that particular game was more about Colon than anything else, and he didn't even pitch.
Such fanfare happens when you've played for nine different teams in 20 seasons -- you resemble a retired softball player from a beer league, and you make folks smile just by entering their world. There is something appealing to society about oddly shaped bodies in sports in general (William "Refrigerator" Perry, Charles Barkley, John Daly, etc.) and in baseball in particular.
Kirby Puckett comes to mind. Just like Colon, he was more athletic than anybody could have possibly imagined during his sprint toward the Baseball Hall of Fame as an outfielder for the Twins. Remember John Kruk, the everyman as a player for a decade with the Padres, Phillies and White Sox? You always had the feeling he'd just left a forklift to stand in a batter's box.
No doubt, the majority of great baseball players are revered by fans at home and on the road, but the bulk of that universal love (at least vocally) for those players comes along their way to retirement.
I'm talking about those involved with that other group of players. They join Puckett, Colon and Kruk in having "it" -- you know, whatever "it" is -- that helped them produce cheers inside and outside of their own ballparks throughout their careers. In recent years, David "Big Papi" Ortiz and Derek Jeter rocked that "it" category, and through the decades, that list has spanned from Babe Ruth and Satchel Paige to Stan Musial and Yogi Berra to Ernie Banks and Luis Tiant.
Some of it involved talent, but most of "it" featured each of those players generating their own brand of charisma.
So this was unfortunate, but it also was predictable: Courtesy of Colon's 2-8 record and 8.14 ERA after 13 starts, he won't finish his first and only season with the Braves. He was designated for assignment Thursday, which means he is free to take his nearly 300 pounds of joy elsewhere. Which means somebody can grab him for a steal since the Braves would have to spend the rest of the year paying the overwhelming majority of his $12.5 million salary. Which means the Mets should bring him back to New York for another run after he did splendid things for them for the three seasons prior to this one.
If not the Mets, then somebody else should sign him. We need Colon in our lives.
This hurler from the Dominican Republic spoke through an interpreter from ballpark to ballpark, but even if you didn't know exactly what he was saying in his native Spanish, you sort of knew. You knew by his actions.
USA Today said this week that Colon finished each of his victories with the A's drawing a design on the ball and placing the date on the cowhide before handing it as a gift to a member of the Oakland training staff. When shagging flies in center during batting practice for all of his teams, he was a pied piper, with folks gravitating around him for fun and advice. He also went through the Major Leagues with a strong work ethic that often was hidden by his large mass. During the offseason, he exercised by slamming giant ropes up and down, and he was a master at jumping jacks.
Colon could pitch, too. He proved as much by going from that hard-throwing guy who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2005 and the second of four trips to the All-Star Game to that crafty veteran who ignored the loss of 8 to 10 mph on his fastball last season to win 15 games with the Mets.
Not only that, but Colon was nimble with the glove during his career, which also included stints with the Expos, White Sox, Red Sox and Yankees. His feet always found higher gears on grounders back to the mound or to the right side of the infield, requiring his deceptive quickness to cover first base.
Hitting? Well ... But remember May 7, 2016?
When it comes to great dates in baseball history, it ranks in the vicinity of July 4, 1939 (Lou Gehrig's "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech); April 15, 1947 (Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier); April 8, 1974 (Hank Aaron passes Babe Ruth's career home run mark); and Sept. 6, 1995 (Cal Ripken Jr. playing more consecutive games than anybody).
I'm talking about that night in San Diego, where a younger Colon of 43 caused a Mets broadcaster to scream over the airwaves, "The impossible has happened" after Big Sexy ignored what is now a lifetime batting average of .086 to slam the first home run of his career. As the ball sailed toward the seats behind the left-field wall, he carried the bat forever down the first-base line. Then he almost trotted in slow motion around the bases.
Or maybe Colon was just enjoying his only home run trot, even if baseball's unwritten rules prohibit such a thing, especially on the road.
Nobody was angry at him.
You can't boo an icon.
Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com.