Despite playing in the majors for 18 seasons, 42-year-old hurler Bartolo Colon is preparing to pitch in the World Series for the first time.
“To be able to be here now is a pretty special thing,” Colon told the press on Monday.
Colon had a chance to appear in the 1997 World Series as a rookie on the Cleveland Indians, but he was not included in the World Series roster after not appearing in any playoff games that year.
Colon has been a starter for the vast majority of his career, but the wily veteran adapted to the relief role just in time for the playoffs, and has served as a useful bridge to closer-extraordinaire Jeurys Familia. Colon has logged 5.1 innings this postseason and has allowed just two runs to come across.
He is unique in the fact that he is an old man using a young man’s pitch, the fastball, to get by. He only hits the radar gun at about 88 mph, but he is considered to have masterful command and can make his fastball move wildly. And not only does he help his team win games, Colon also brings a veteran presence to the Mets’ young clubhouse.
“He’s one of the guys that helps me not just in baseball, but as a person, too,” Familia said, “Whatever question I have about baseball or life, I ask Bartolo. For me he’s like another brother. He knows the game better than anyone, so it’s really great to have him around.”
Colon, who said he didn’t learn how to play baseball until he was 17, recalled working on coffee fields picking beans with his father in his youth. That’s where he said he learned his work ethic.
“It was a rougher form of life,” Colon said, “It prepared me for…today.”