Sid Rosenberg: Bartolo Colon and the phenomenon of the ‘Fat-lete’ – Metro US

Sid Rosenberg: Bartolo Colon and the phenomenon of the ‘Fat-lete’

Sid Rosenberg: Bartolo Colon and the phenomenon of the ‘Fat-lete’
Getty Images

Bartolo Colon set the baseball world on firethis past weekend when he hit his first career home run at the ripe age of 42. Colon soaked up the moment by trotting down to first base with his bat in his hand and asking for directions on where to go after rounding first base.

Known to Mets fans as “BigSexy,”Bartolo Colon stands just under 6 feet, weighs a whopping 285 pounds and is closer in resemblance to a sumo wrestler than a major league baseball player. But somehow, every fivedays for the past 19 seasons Colon has waddled his way out to the mound and hasbaffled major league hitters with his pitching prowess. Colon has gotten fatter and fatter over his career yet he has still been able to maintain his wizardry on the mound and lets his stats prove that he can still get the job done.

In an age where baseball players are workinghard to keep their bodiesin tip-top shape, there are a handful of players that seem to have no interest in sculpting their bodies to that of Michelangelo’s David. Prince Fielder, Pablo Sandoval and Miguel Cabrera, for example, all weigh in at over 250 poundsand visibly look to be struggling to control their weight. Fascinatingly enough, day in and day out, these ‘fat-letes’ continue to produce on the baseball diamond. Fielder, Sandoval and Cabrera have all been named to an All-Star team at least once in theircareers and all have been in the conversation for their respective league’s MVP award.Many may think that you will only find ‘fat-letes’ in baseball because of the slow pace of the game but they are wrong.

Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame offensive linemanLarry Allen stood 6 foot 3 inches, weighed 325 pounds and ran like a raging hippopotamus in the open field. An example in basketball is Shaquille O’Neal, who struggled to maintain his weight throughout his career and yet some consider him the greatest center toever step foot on the hardwood.Golfer John Daly topped out at 280 pounds and has been a PGA Tour card holder for 29 years.

In the case of Bartolo Colon, putting on weightseems to have allowed him to maintain enough velocity to keep hitters on their toes while honing his control and hitting his spots to get guys out.You see this happen with a lot of pitchers as they age and start to put on weight.Livan Hernandez weighed 250pounds when he retired after 16 seasons in the majors. Pedro Martinez weighed 150 pounds as a rookie and by the end of his career was closing in on 200 pounds.All three used their weight to their advantage by letting gravity take them towards the plate and they focusedmore on the location of their pitches rather than on the velocity.

Gaining weight to extend your professional baseball career on the surface sounds idiotic, but there may be a methodto this madness.