juan-marichal

10. A Giants who came before your time whom you wish you could have seen.

This is blasphemy, I know. I’m a terrible, terrible, awful person. But of all the players my dad told stories of as we listened to baseball on the radio and tried to make tomatoes grow (this can be hard in Nevada)…it wasn’t Willie Mays he talked about most, it was…Juan Marichal.

I don’t know, in the end, if this was actually possible, that I could not choose Willie Mays. It just seems wrong not to. But there would be a contest, at least a small one. 

Big Brother Bart

BY MELISSA RODRIGUEZ

Colon embraces big brother, mentor role in time with the Mets

In the corner of the team’s locker room, Bartolo Colón sits on a folding chair. It may be the four young starters who make headlines, but it’s Colón sitting in the back with a group of young players surrounding him, who is the guiding force for the Mets’ youthful staff.


With an 18-year career and 218 wins under his belt, Colón has become a mentor  - a big brother of sorts - for many of the players in the clubhouse.  Being available to lend an ear is always a priority for Colón as he recalls how important it was for him to have even just one person to lean on at the beginning of his career.

“I didn’t really have that sort of help when I was starting out,” Colón said. “Back in those days there were fewer Latinos or maybe there were just as many Latinos but in those days I don’t think as many of them knew English as well as the Latinos today do.”

“In Cleveland, the person who was there for me a lot was a Puerto Rican, Luis Isaac, he was a coach. He really helped me a lot, a lot. As far as I was concerned, that was my pitching coach in Cleveland.”

While his teammates dote on him and the effort he puts into helping them, Colón admits that spending so much time around all the young, talented pitchers probably helps to keep him young too.

“I feel very happy and very proud that my teammates speak so highly of me, that they give me merit for helping them,” added Colón. “As long as I’m playing I will always continue to help these guys.”

His mentoring of the pitchers doesn’t just limit itself to the clubhouse or during the season. This offseason, Hansel Robles stayed over in Colón’s hometown of Altamira, in the Dominican Republic, and the two worked out a lot at the field. Colón himself worked out every day, Monday through Friday.

“We started out with 20 guys,” Colón explained. “By the end of it, there were just three of us but it was fun and, because of it, I feel like I came into spring training much more prepared.”

Any young player would be wise to take in all they can from Colón. With all the years of experience, it certainly seems as if Colón has figured out more than one secret to being able to last in the game for so long. Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones attributes Colón’s incredible flexibility, amongst others, as one of the key components to his long-lasting career.

“The experience, the wisdom that he has of the game and his routine, the day-to-day preparation and the way he prepares for each start and the durability that he has had in the game is what makes everybody follow him and admire him,” Bones said.

“To get to his age and to be as flexible as he is, being in shape, despite everyone seeing him as a person who is a little fuller. That’s what’s deceiving about him because he is a person that is prepared every day and he works hard. Physically he is in better shape than many of the people who look physically fit.”

Colón confesses that changing his entire pitching style from his earlier years has also played an important role in his longevity. With age, Colón had to shift his pitching style from someone who threw with power to someone who instead throws with finesse. He credits current Pittsburgh Pirates catcher, Francisco Cervelli with helping him make the change when they had a brief stint together with the Yankees.

“There was a game I pitched in Anaheim and Cervelli said to me ‘let yourself go and let me guide you today and look only at the batters’ feet’,” recalled Colón. “That’s when I started to change everything, my whole style of pitching, because I started noticing the batters’ feet.”

“They would wait until after the first two strikes and then step in a little more to try and hit my two-seamer. The righties they step in a little more because my sinker is a little more on the outside.”

It’s these type of adjustments that have allowed Colón to pitch effectively. Over the last two seasons, Colón has averaged nearly 200-innings per season (397.0 combined innings) and collected 29 wins. Dating back to 2012, Colón has recorded at least 10 wins per season after not having a double-digit win season from 2006-2011. He’s now one win behind Pedro Martinez for second-most by a Dominican-born pitcher (Juan Marichal holds the record with 243).

So while he’s turning 43 on May 24, Colón is showing no signs of slowing down and is redefining the adage that age is just a number. He remains humble about his long-lasting success and insists that he just considers himself fortunate to be able to continue playing the game he loves with the teammates he calls family.

“The thought of retiring crosses my mind, but as soon as the offseason comes, I can’t wait to get back to my job and be with my teammates because they are my family.”  

With the regular season upon us, Big Brother Bart and his family are ready to get to work. 

expectations-left  asked:

I know you said requests are currently closed, but I'm hoping to put one in advance of my wedding in September. My fiance and I are huge Giants fans and we're getting married at McCovey Point and then going to a game after! If you could do something with Juan Marichal and Buster Posey, our two favorite players, I would really love it. Thanks!

 Oh my goodness!!!

Wishing you and your fiancé a lifetime of happiness and lots of baseball! ♡ All the best! :)