The Mets will face the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night… and will be facing a familiar face, Bartolo Colon.
By now, you all know how obsessed I am with Colon. I’ve written an ode to Colon. I talked about how the Mets broke me by letting him go. I was even told I was too emotional when I wrote this gem of how Colon thought he’d still be on the team.
Well, obviously you knew I had to write something before we faced him.
And I’m not the only one who misses him and who knows how much of an asset he was both on the field and off the field. Colon received a standing ovation on Opening Day, and he will receive a video tribute before his start on Wednesday. But it’s not just the fans, Mets players and managers have opened up about him as well, especially in the last few days.
There was the advice he gave to Robert Gsellman:
"“He told me to keep working on one side of the plate, and I would watch him and how he did it and try to take it into the game. It’s helped me out lot, and he got that confidence in me.”"
He was a motivator for Jeurys Familia:
"“He motivated me, like, ‘you can do this, you throw hard.’ I knew how to throw hard and still get hitters out. He was like, if you throw strikes, you’re going to be OK.’”"
Jacob deGrom, who will be facing him on Wednesday, said that he’s looking forward to it. But elaborated a bit more about Colon:
"“That’s something that was nice to see early in my career, a guy who has almost 20 years of pitching in the big leagues and how he goes about his business and those things don’t bother him. This is a game where some days you’re going to have your best stuff, some days you’re not, and he went out there every day and competed and whatever the outcome was he was the same person.”"
"“He’s a wonderful guy. It’s going to be tough. He’s got great stuff. It will be another battle.”"
Neil Walker was a fan of the fact that Colon was so warmly welcomed back to Queens on Monday:
"“It’s good to see he was received so well. He’s obviously a fan favorite here, and a favorite in the locker room. He meant as much as anybody on this team. But it certainly doesn’t mean we’ll try to take it easy on him. We’re going to try to do whatever we can to knock him out early.”"
And, of course, Terry Collins weighed in on his former starting pitcher:
"“He was a definite factor in what we accomplished the last two years. He gave us quality inning after quality inning. He was a force with the young Latin players. Hansel Robles’ development, Jeurys Familia’s development, is in correlation with the fact Bartolo Colon was in that room. They came fast and he taught them how to be major league pitchers, how to go about things, how to take the good with the bad. We’re going to miss that.”“Bartolo had a huge effect on this team for the last three years.”"
Yes, Colon had a great effect on both the Mets organization, and the fans. It’s going to be weird watching him pitch against his old teammates, but hopefully that only lasts until the Mets are able to trade for him in July. For now, we at least have these sweet memories.