Bartolo’s got a cult following!
(*and I didn’t even start it but I will be a part of it!! LOL! #TeamBartolo!)
Everyone loves Bartolo Colon. The 42-year-old has wowed the baseball community not just his incredible command when he pitches but his crazy defensive plays, happy-go-lucky attitude and, most interestingly, his antics at the plate.
He’s got a following and has truly become what you might call a cult hero.
It’s strange, however, because Colon was once suspended 50 games for testing positive for testosterone. He seems to be one of a select few players who’s been forgiven.
The only other example that comes to mind might be New York Yankee great Andy Pettitte, who admitted to using PEDs while recovering from an injury. However, he was forgiven and his number 46 was retired to Monument Park at the new Yankees Stadium. Few players can overcome the stigma associated with using PEDs.
Colon has done that very thing, and gone way beyond to achieve fame and adoration like he’s never had during his 19-year career. Perhaps the forgiveness stems from the fact that he, like Pettitte, quickly admitted to his mistake, apologized, took his punishments and moved on.
It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure: Everyone seems to be focused on every move Colon makes. Colon’s cult-like following definitely didn’t develop because of an apology; it is the entire package that Colon brings to the table.
On thing that doesn’t hurt everyone’s fascination of Colon is that he doesn’t exactly resemble your typical baseball player, nor does he pitch like a normal starting pitcher with an arsenal of different pitches. Colon throws mainly one pitch and has been a successful, Cy Young Award-winning big league pitcher for almost 20 years.
Colon is a short, portly man who throws primarily one pitch, his fastball. He does have a slider and a changeup, but according to Fangraphs, over his career he has thrown his fastball an average of 80.8 percent of the time, while throwing his slider 9.1 percent of the time and his changeup just 6.8 percent. What makes Colon able to succeed is the incredible command he has over his fastball and his ability to alter its speed.
The differences between Colon and your average big league starter are a big part of why he’s become a cult hero sure, but it is still much more than that.
He has a reputation of being a beloved clubhouse figure and that is evident in everything he does. Colon is always smiling, always happy and always wants to play the game whether he’s starting or pitching out of the bullpen. He never complains about changes in his role because he’s simply happy to be on the field each and everyday.
He’s entertaining. Whether he is pitching, dominating hitters with that fastball or striking out at the plate and losing his helmet in the process, he is fun to watch. He can still play spectacular defense; even at his age, Colon never ceases to amaze the people around him.
After having a career-high eight hits, including one double and four RBI in 2015, he also made a spectacular behind the back catch for an out (click here for video) that September.
This season, he was dubbed “the Willie Mays of the infield” after making yet another spectacular over the head basket catch on an infield popup.
Even more recently, he almost beat one of the fastest players in the game in the Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton to first base on an infield ground ball.
In baseball you never really know what will happen and this applies more to Colon than any other player….