In these dark and trying times, there's one man Major League Baseball needs now more than ever: Big Sexy.
Bartolo Colon hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors since September 2018, but the soon-to-be 47-year-old isn't quite ready to give up on his pro career.
"I thought that last year maybe I would have the opportunity," Colon said on a video call with ESPN. "I know that if it didn't happen last year, this year would be less likely. I'm getting older and the game is all about the young pitchers coming up. When you get older, teams no longer need your services."
Colon said if he could pick any team to play for, it would be the Mets. Out of his 21 MLB seasons, he said his favorite years were 2014-2016, which included the Mets' World Series appearance in 2015. Colon made seven appearances out of the bullpen during that postseason run, posting a 2.08 ERA with seven strikeouts in 8.2 innings.
"That Mets team was really something special," he said. "I've played with 10 teams, but with the Mets, the way all those players treated me, how that entire franchise treated me, from the front office to the kitchen staff, it was amazing. And Mets fans are the best. In the beginning, when they laughed at me every time my helmet fell off, at first I felt uncomfortable. But when I saw how much the fans enjoyed it, I asked for a bigger batting helmet so that it would fall more because it was so much fun for them."
"If it was up to me, I would retire with the Mets," Colon added. "I would like my career to end in New York."
While he may prefer the Mets, Colon expressed gratitude to the Yankees for bringing him back to the big leagues in the 2011 season. Colon was entering his age 38 season and had missed the entire prior year because of ongoing right shoulder and elbow pain, as well as damage to his rotator cuff, ligaments and tendons.
"Signing with the Yankees was something special because they were the ones that brought me back, thanks to Tony Pena. They were the ones who gave me a chance," he said. "When manager Joe Girardi called me into his office and said, 'We have a role for you, but it would be as reliever,' I told Tony to tell him that I would accept whatever role they had for me, and Girardi said to go home and think about it overnight. And I said I did not have to think about it at all; all I wanted was to be in the major leagues, even as a bat boy."
That's a sentiment he still holds today.
"If I had the opportunity, I would play in any league; go anywhere," he said. "If any major league team wants an old man, I'm available!"
If he never pitches in the majors again, Colon, a native of the Dominican Republic, can hang his hat on an accomplished career. He's the all-time winningest Latino pitcher in MLB history with 247 career wins. He surpassed Nicaraguan Dennis Martinez's mark of 245 on Aug. 7, 2018 in an 11-4 win with the Rangers over the Mariners, in which he pitched seven innings and allowed four earned runs on eight hits.