It often is said that the most exciting play in baseball is a triple. That might be so, although the phrase might deserve this addendum: ". . . or a double by Bartolo Colon."
Pretty much everyone at Citi Field had some kind of reaction when the hefty 42-year-old hit a shot to the left-centerfield gap that rolled all the way to the wall during the second inning. It drove in a run and got everybody talking, particularly the Mets, who are not all that thrilled to see him run the bases.
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For any other player, it would have been a triple. As Terry Collins said, referring to Mets first-base coach Tom Goodwin, "I wasn't sure Tommy was going to send him to second."
The Mets were wary about what happened two starts ago, when Colon chugged his way to third and appeared gassed when he went out to pitch the next inning. That was not the case in the 4-3 victory over the Marlins Sunday, though. He required only 13 pitches to retire the next six batters.
Colon draws laughs when he takes mighty cuts, but batting seems to energize him. ESPN reported that he has a 13-1 record in starts in which he gets a hit. "It's really a good accomplishment, but I'd prefer not to hit," he said in Spanish with coach Ricky Bones translating into English. "At my age, I'd rather pitch and not concentrate on running or swinging the bat."
His team appreciates the competitiveness that somehow seeps into every phase of his game. "What people don't see is how much of an athlete he is," catcher Anthony Recker said. "His physical appearance is less than ideal, but obviously he knows what he's doing out there. He's done it for a very long time."
In fact, Colon's second career extra-base hit made him the first pitcher 42 or older to get an RBI double since Randy Johnson did it at 44 in 2008. As for a possible stop sign from Goodwin, Colon said, "I was looking at Ichiro [Suzuki, the centerfielder], reading his back numbers, so I was able to make it to second."
So how about a triple? Colon said: "No shot."