“The Impossible Has Happened” – Bartolo Colon Goes Deep in San Diego

By Paul DiSclafani

bartolo home run appleNo single home run in baseball history has generated the Social Media buzz that Bartolo Colon’s did on May 7th, 2016.  This event may one day be remembered in infamy.

This video combines all four memorable calls:  Gary Cohen (the Mets TV announcer), Howie Rose (the Mets Radio Announcer), the Mets Spanish Broadcast team and the San Diego Padres announcers.  But MLB has put together the video so that each call stands alone with a different video angle associated with it, making it even more memorable.  You can see it on the Mets Facebook page (unless you don’t have a Facebook account).

SEE THE MLB VIDEO HERE

Talk about, as President George Bush once put it, “Shock and Awe”, this was not only all of that, but brought a smile to everyone’s face.  And that is what Bartolo Colon has done for not only baseball, but all sports, bring a smile to the face of his teammates and, more importantly, the fans.

Colon always seems like he is out there having a good time, and 17 days shy of his 43rd birthday, why shouldn’t he?  He plays the game the way any true baseball fan would – with enthusiasm and enjoyment.  That’s why every Mets fan loves him.  He is one of us.  He even looks like most of us.  That’s why his nickname of “Big Sexy” is so perfect for him.

Terry Collins was the only Met in the dugout when Colon completed his record 30.6 second trot around the bases.  Curtis Granderson, walking to the plate as the next hitter and David Wright, in the on-deck circle, didn’t know all their teammates had vacated the dugout into the tunnel as if they were five year-olds at a surprise birthday party when the birthday boy arrived.

When asked about his first thought when the ball landed 365 feet and over the left field fence, Collins simply said, “Oh My God, he hit a home run.” We all know he’s an entertaining guy at home plate.  So to have him ambush something like that and hit a homer, it’s pretty special.”

Colon himself could hardly put it into words – even through his interpreter.  “I don’t even know how to explain it,” Colon told a group of reporters after the game. “Once I hit it, I knew it was gone.”

He added: “I think right now, this is the biggest moment of my career.” “Any time I see a fastball, I swing hard because I’m not a curveball hitter,” he said, disbelief coloring his words. “Once I hit it, I knew it was gone.”

When told that he was the oldest MLB player to hit his first home run, Colon said “It means a lot, and it’s something that I still can’t believe until now.  It means a lot.”

The players and coaches all know how hard Colon has worked on his hitting and although the lasting image of a Bartolo Colon At Bat is him swinging himself out from under his batting helmet, Colon takes hitting seriously, as do all of the Mets pitchers.  As a group, the Mets starters all can handle the bat.  After all, there is not DH, so they have to be productive and be able to help themselves.  There was talk in Spring Training that Colon had hit a batting practice home run, but no video evidence to back up his claim.  But his teammates all agree that he takes BP seriously and has hit a few in major league ballparks.

Kevin Plaweski, the Mets backup catcher, was on second base ahead of the Colon home run.  “I almost missed third base, I was so excited,” Plawecki said.  “We all had a hunch that if he were to run into one, it was going to go.  “I was just kind of in awe about the whole thing.”

“It’s one of those things where you come to the ballpark never knowing what you’re going to see,” Captain David Wright said after the game. “And you saw it.”

The Wall Street Journal, that bastion of Sports journalism, said in an article by Andrew Beaton:  “This wasn’t a dream. Or an elaborate Internet hoax. It really happened.  Bartolo Colon, the 42-year-old folk hero pitcher for the New York Mets, hit a home run.”

There were many famous radio / TV calls in sports history.  Jack Buck’s call of Dodger Kirk Gibson’s “Limp-Off” Home run in the World Series, “I can’t believe what I just saw!”; Howard Cosell’s famous “Down goes Frazier, Down goes Frazier”; Bob Murphy’s “It get’s by Buckner!”; Russ Hodges, “The Giants win the Pennant!”; Al Michael’s “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”.  The list goes on and on.

Maybe Gary Cohen’s call should be on the list.  The sheer amazement in his description as the ball left the bat (He drives one, deep left field.  Back goes Upton, back near the wall..) and the crack in his voice as it lands in the stands during is signature “It’s outta here” home run.  Even the giggle from Ron Darling in the background is classic as he tries to stay professional and not step on Cohen’s call.  “Bartolo has done it!  The impossible has happened!!”

After throwing the pitch that led to hitting the Colon home run, Padres pitcher James Shields, who will be forever linked to Colon as the answer to a trivia question (like Braves pitcher Tom House catching Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in the Atlanta bullpen – now you know how old I am) would not make the same mistake twice, respecting Big Sexy enough to strike him out on a curve ball.  After all, Colon did say he can’t hit a curveball.

Now opposing pitchers have a book on how to pitch to Bartolo Colon.  Imagine that…

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