Bartolo Colon was added to the All-Star team on Friday, and it is a well-deserved honor for someone who is as key to the Mets’ successes as anybody.
With the issues the Mets have dealt with in their rotation, with Matt Harvey having a tough year and now heading for season-ending surgery and Zack Wheeler yet to make his return this season, Colon has been the constant.
“We think he’s certainly stabilized the rotation,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Colon. “With all the ups and downs of our young kids that they’ve had, the one constant’s been Bartolo every five days. He’s fazed by nothing – he’s not fazed by rain delays, he’s not fazed by being put back – nothing. He just takes the ball and does his job, and I think that says a lot about the kind of pro he is, and certainly a lesson to be learned by a lot of these young pitchers.
“He has been (the constant). We knew, like everybody does, we knew going into the season that he’s going to have hiccups like he’s had last night (against Washington). When the game was over, we brought him in, made sure that everything was okay, and he said everything’s okay. I said ‘listen, don’t get down about this, you know, Jon Lester went an inning and a third the other night, you’re going to have bad nights.'”
The Mets have relied on Colon to give them a quality outing every fifth day, and he has delivered, with a record 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA in 18 games,17 of which were starts.
In his third year with the Mets, Colon has become a folk hero and a fan favorite.
Colon came to the Mets in 2014 after a successful run in Oakland, and the feeling was mixed as to what he would bring to New York, as he was 40 years old.
In his first year with the Mets, he went 15-13 with a 4.09 ERA, and threw 202 1/3 innings, bringing stability to a young rotation.
2015 was when Mets fans fell in love with him, as he got off to a fast start, along with the rest of the team and people were marveling at what the then-42 year old was accomplishing.
Colon, who was given the nickname Big Sexy by Noah Syndergaard, became an anchor in the rotation, as reliable as any of the young guns going out every fifth day.
It also helped Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, even Matt Harvey, to have the cagey veteran around to show them how to be successful in the majors.
This year, the legend of Colon has kept growing, as Mets fans keep being amazed at what a pitcher of his age (43 years old) and hefty build can do for them every day.
Colon is also one of those guys that looks like he’s having a ball out there, and that positive feelin is infectious.
A moment that will be remembered for a long time is when Colon hit the Shot Heard Around New York on May 7, when he homered in San Diego. He became the oldest player to ever hit his first major league home run, at 42 years and 349 days.
Colon also made some history on the mound, as he passed Pedro Martinez for the second-most victories among Dominican-born pitchers, with 222 career wins. Juan Marichal is first with 243 wins.
Colon showed the stability he gives the Mets when he took the mound last Saturday night against the Cubs when he went up against Jake Arrieta, one of the best pitchers in the National League.
“Well, one thing about Bartolo, this is a matchup he’s had 50 times,” Collins said of Colon before that game. “This guy’s pitched, the couldn’t even get tell you against how many Cy Young award winners in his career. He doesn’t get too emotional, he’s gonna go do what he does. He doesn’t care what the other guy does, you’re not gonna see him match velocities. He’s going to go pitch his game.
“When we talk about his influence on the young pitchers, it’s the same thing. If everyone went about their job just like Bartolo, hey look, I’m ‘just going to be myself today, don’t care who I’m pitching against,’ they’ll be a lot better off.”
Colon outdueled Arrieta and earned the win, as he went six innings, and gave up just two runs on four hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.
This is the fourth time Colon has been named an All-Star, and he was on three previous All-Star teams, in 1998 with Cleveland, 2005 with the Angels, and 2013 with Oakland. Colon becomes the eighth player 43 or older to be named to an All-Star team. This is also the 10th time in All-Star history that a player 43 or older has been named to the team. The last player older than Colon to be named to an All-Star team was Mariano Rivera in 2013.
The Mets now have four All-Stars, as Colon will join teammates Yoenis Cespedes, Jeurys Familia and Noah Syndergaard on the All-Star team. It will be the ninth time in team history the Mets have had four or more All-Stars and the first time since 2009 when David Wright, Francisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran were named to the squad.