March 15, 2016

DENSON | Bartolo Colon for MVP

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Have you heard the story about the house cat looking at itself in the mirror and seeing a lion? Or the one about our perennial narcissist, Kanye West, insisting that he is in fact God? But my favorite is the one about the 285-pound, 42-year-old Mets pitcher who, I think, can be a dangerous batter. Just two days ago, the Mets pitcher, former Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon, hit a monster home run during a spring training batting practice session — Mets beat reporter Marc Craig claims it “took out a tree branch.” After setting his season high in hits last season — with eight — I can see a batting title in Colon’s near future. It’s no coincidence that Bartolo’s new contract has an incentive clause worth $50,000 if he wins the Silver Slugger Award.

“I don’t have delusions of grandeur,” Bradley Cooper said in the movie Limitless. “I have an actual recipe for grandeur.” Well, I certainly have grandiose delusions for New York’s favorite near 300-pound Dominican, Bartolo Colon.

Such a graceful athlete — this cookie pouch of a belly flailing in the wind as he rounded first base en route to his first career double last May. Minutes after, social media jumped on Colon as GIF after GIF was distributed throughout the interwebs. The world knows that watching him do anything remotely athletic will brighten up anyone’s day. Please just watch him running — you can tell Bartolo is a regular every Tuesday at Buffalo Wild Wings 75 cent-a-wing night.

Colon’s age, lovable demeanor and 18 chins remind us of a teddy bear, or Jabba the Hutt’s cousin, fellow Hutt lord and Galactic arms dealer Grappa the Hutt. They say the secret to his crippling off speed two-seam fastball is hidden in between the rolls of his seventh and eighth chin.

After spending several years as a middle relief pitcher for a few struggling bullpens in baseball purgatory, Colon had an unlikely resurgence at the ripe old age of 40. No doubt it was his nearly career-ending shoulder damage that held back his dominance. To any fan, it seemed like Colon’s 2005 Cy Young winning pitching was over. But after seasons of mediocrity, spending the entire 2010 season in physical therapy, and a 50-game suspension in 2012 for violating the MLB’s drug policy, Colon is back, or at least I want him to be. Hopefully he’s been laying off the synthetic testosterone, because Mets faithfuls have reason to believe this will be his best season yet. Last season he reached his highest number of games played since his 2005 Cy Young award winning season. And with a dose of delusional optimism, I think he can make his fourth career all-star appearance.

Call that claim my hot take, but it’s more likely to happen than Colon winning the Silver Slugger award among pitchers. Whether or not the existence of that award, or pitchers’ batting in general, is healthy for the sport is a discussion for another column.

Amazing things are happening to the Mets. Next time you see a Hispanic Santa Claus running the bases for the New York Mets just remember: this team was in the World Series last season and they can win it in 2016.

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