Everyone’s favorite Met will head to the mound for his first start of the season on Wednesday night.
The problem is that he is wearing a Braves uniform as Bartolo Colon, who made his MLB debut 20 years ago on Tuesday, will be pitching opposite of Jacob deGrom (7:10 p.m. ET) at Citi Field.
Regardless, expect a warm ovation that was previewed on Opening Day when he was introduced to the crowd during pre-game ceremonies.
Colon spent just three seasons with the Mets, but it was as memorable a tenure as anyone has experienced while wearing blue and orange.
Seemingly spitting in the face of time considering he was already on the wrong side of 40 upon his arrival to Queens, Colon ate innings and garnered plenty of smiles along the way.
He also managed to stay healthy, well, in terms of not missing much time due to injury.
Turning 44 in May, “Big Sexy” did not necessarily fit the mold of an ideal ball player in terms of physical fitness, but he always found a way to get things done.
He went 44-34 with a 3.90 ERA, exhibited surprising athleticism when it came to fielding his position and launched a memorable first-career home run last season against the San Diego Padres.
SNY broadcaster Gary Cohen, incredulous to what he saw, labeled Colon’s blast as “one of the great moments in the history of baseball.”
More importantly, he had a lasting effect on the younger arms within the Mets’ pitching staff.
“This guy gave us quality inning after quality inning. He was a force with the young Latin players. Still today, Hansel Robles’ development, Jeurys Familia’s development is in correlation with the fact that Bartolo Colon is in that room,” Mets Manager told Newsday’s Laura Albanese. “They came fast and I think he taught them how to be major-league pitchers, how to go about things, how to take the good with the bad, and we’re going to miss that. We’re going to miss that. But as you know, those kind of guys, they have to take on that role now.”
Within a pitching staff that experienced so much change and tinkering due to injuries over the years, Colon was a calming presence within the rotation and went about his duties in the same tranquil manner no matter the stage.
During the Mets’ run to the World Series in 2015, Colon appeared in seven games, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits in a combined 8.2 innings.
He opted not to speak with the media until after his start on Wednesday night, but he won’t have as easy a time shrugging off the Citi Field faithful who will want to thank Big Bart for his time in New York in a big way.