Bartolo Colon takes ridicule over his comical at-bats personally
Bartolo Colon, the portly, seemingly ageless 42-year-old New York Mets pitcher, is enjoying a remarkable season, defying logic with each successive successful outing. But what attracts even more attention than his great run on the mound of late is his often-comical at-bats. In fact, Colon’s wild, clumsy, off-balance swings — some that even cause his helmet to fall off — have spawned repeated viewings of videos, GIFs, Vines, etc. that document his amusing misadventures.
Colon’s plate appearances even have caught the eye of new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who said recently that the pitcher’s at-bats are reasons alone to not institute the designated hitter rule in the National League.
“It’s been a great source of entertainment for me,” Manfred said.
It turns out that Colon doesn’t much appreciate that his at-bats are being used as comedic fodder by the commissioner, nor all the fun being made at his expense. So much so that he rededicated himself to hitting after a horribly ineffective — but entertaining — season at the plate last year.
“Nobody likes to be embarrassed at any level, and he knows people are laughing at him when he hits,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Manfred’s comment. “I think he took it a little personally.”
Obviously, being over 40, spending a majority of his career in the American League — not to mention tipping the scales at a reported 285 pounds — certainly isn’t helping matters. But so far this season, he has three hits in 21 at-bats, an improvement over last season, when he went 2-for-62 (.032) with 33 strikeouts, often looking out of control, even foolish, as he wildly flailed at the ball.
A report from Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal indicates that Colon was left feeling “ridiculed and ashamed” as a result of the attention derived from his plate appearances. And now he’s working harder and the Mets say no one on the squad works harder in the cage than he does.
“He says he doesn’t have to embarrass himself and doesn’t have to hear people talking about his hitting approach, bad approach,” said bullpen coach Ricky Bones, who serves as Colon’s interpreter. “Now he can actually go in there and do something.”
Still, Colon insists despite his dedication to the craft, he’d prefer to not have to bat at all.”It’s a good accomplishment,” he said. “But I’d prefer not to hit, because at my age, I’d rather pitch and not have to concentrate on running or swinging the bat.”[H/T Big League Stew]