This Old Man, What’s His Name? Damn Near Pitched a Perfect Game

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, April 16.

There were actually two exceptional games yesterday and I assumed the headline would be the Mets’ 3-2 walkoff win

over the Brewers.  But  that was forgotten after

the ESPN Sunday night game.  In that game, Bartolo Colon–remember him, the guy the Mets wrote off a few years back?  Colon, approaching age 45 threw 7 perfect innings for the Rangers against the Astros.  21 Astros came up, 21 Astros went back to the bench.  These are the defending World Champions, but that didn’t put Bartolo Colon’s false teeth out of their proper alignment, assuming he has them.

This is the same Bartolo Colon who was part of the Canton Akron Indians back when I was broadcasting AA ball.  More than two decades have passed since then.  The New Britain Red Sox were near the end of their run, and Canton moved to Akron and became the Akron Aeros. At 45 I was found to be diabetic, and in spite of my efforts not to let the disease boss me around, I find it bossing me around.  Bartolo Colon is a freak of nature.

His career has had more ups and downs than Space Mountain. He pitched for the 1997 Indians at the major level, but was left off the roster for the postseason in which the Indians lost to the Marlins in 7 games.  A year later he faced Ricky Gutierrez in a 20-pitch atbat, believed to be the longest single atbat in baseball.  That year he pitched in the ALCS against the Yankees. He pitched a one-hitter in 2000 after firing a no-hitter as a minor leaguer some years before. On the down side, he pitched for the Expos in the final year of their existence. He won the Cy Young in 2005, then lost most of 2006 with a partially torn rotator cuff. On the reverse side, he went AWOL while pitching for the Red Sox and landed on the restricted list. He pitched a game for the other Sox, the Chicago variety-then was hurt and lost for both 2009 and 2010. After controversial stem cell surgery he pitched for the  Yankees, Athletics, Mets, Braves and Twins. As a Met he became something of a cult figure.  His bat got as much attention as his pitching.  In 2014 he got his first hit in 9 years. In 2015 he hit an RBI-single, followed by a double on the final day in May. The next May, he hit his first ever home run, and hit it at Petco Park, one of the most difficult places to hit one. He had beaten all 30 teams, and had beaten the Orioles while wearing 7 different uniforms.  Then came last night.  he took the hill at Minute Maid Park in Houston, hardly a health spa for elderly pitchers. On his road to 21 straight, he struck out last year’s batting champ, Jose Altuve twice. His quest for immortality ended with a walk to Carlos Correa, then a double by Josh Reddick.  Colon did what Colon always does-joke around with Reddick after the two-bagger.  That’s not what a pitcher normally does when somebody shreds his hope for a no-hitter. His mound opponent, Justin Verlander of the Astros nearly matched Colon 0 for 0.  The one hit he gave up was a third-inning home run by Robinson Cherinos. Verlander struck out 11 Rangers against one walk. Colon, who could be called the Ancient Mariner if he pitched for Seattle, notched 7 strikeouts.  His first walk was his first base runner, Correa.  After the no-hitter was broken up, that was all for the pitcher emeritus.  Cherinos drove home the two 10th-inning runs that gave the Rangers a   win over the champs.

 

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