We’ve all seen those feel good videos about the special needs team manager who dresses for the final game and hits 15 three pointers in a row, or the kids who get signed to a one day contract with their favorite team and get to practice, dress and be a part of the team they hold so dearly. It’s heartwarming, tear inducing stuff. My kryptonite is military homecoming videos. EVERY. TIME. But what if I told you that this MLB Season, there was a man who fulfilled all of our dreams with the swing of a bat. In 2016, one man proved to us that anything is possible, even if it seems impossible.
On May 7th, 2016, at the age of 42, Mets Starting Pitcher Bartolo Colon did the unthinkable. After 19 seasons, 3172.1 innings pitched, 233 Wins (the second most for any Dominican born Pitcher), four All Star Games and a Cy Young Award, Bartolo did something no one ever thought he could do.
He hit a home run.
Normally a game against the Padres is nothing to write home about, let a lone something to watch at 10:10pm a school night, but with the 8:40 start and the 7 line in the right field bleachers, Mets fans tuned into to hear Gary Cohen and Ron Darling call the 3rd game of the series. Bartolo Colon would take the mound against the once great James Shields. After his stint in Tampa Bay and Kansas City Shields was a shell of his former self. In 2015 the Padres signed him to a 4-year/$75 million dollar deal and he never lived up to the salary.
After a Yoenis Cespedes two-run bomb in the first, Bartolo Colon stepped into the batter’s box with a man second. He took the first pitch, as is his custom, and swing at the second. Colon would often see curveballs from pitchers, something that is considered respectful considering Colon’s uncanny ability to slap a double on bloop one into Center. Instead of tossing Bart a 1-1 Curve, Shields opted for a two-seam fastball.
James Shields made two big mistakes in this at-bat, the first being the choice to throw a two-seam fastball to a man who revolutionized the two-seamer. You wouldn’t challenge Shakespeare to a Sonnet contest, right? The second mistake is throwing one at 90 miles-per-hour right in Bart’s sweet spot. That’s when the impossible happened.
As the ball sailed high over left field, Bartolo took a slow job down the first base line, all the while holding firm to his bat. If you slow down the video, you can see that from the moment the ball leaves the bat, he knows it’s gone, that goofy smile of his growing wider and wider with each step. As the ball disappeared into the left field seats, the cheers from Queens echoed across the country. As Bartolo took his long trot around the base paths you could hear Mets fans calling their loved ones into the room to watch what had just transpired. The oldest player to ever hit his first career home run was about to cross the plate.
The Amazin’ Miracle Mets had produced another unbelievable moment in Baseball History. If you haven’t done it yet, listen to a game called by the Mets Broadcasting crew. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are perfection. You can hear Gary’s voice crack and Ron’s laugh as the ball leaves the field, and it’s a perfect summation of the moment. It’s crazy, it’s insane, it’s hilarious, and according to Gary Cohen “one of the greatest moments in Baseball History.”