Well, well, well. Bartolo Colon, huh?
Coming into the season, Colon was the subject of many of my jokes about the Yankees, not just because I’m spiritually twelve years old and enjoy making colon puns, but because as As Diane noted in her recap of last night’s game, the Yankees biggest reclamation project kicked some ass last night. He had already been surprisingly solid, almost dominant, in relief, but this was his first major league start since 2009. I wasn’t surprised to see him being smart with his off-speed stuff, but a 93-94 mph fastball? I wasn’t predicting that. Neither was Colon, apparently.
When I think of pleasantly surprising Yankees, the first to come to mind are probably the Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon duo of late 2005. Small, especially, was a journeyman struggling to hang on in the majors when he inexplicably (well – explicably, but still surprisingly) went 10-0 for the Yanks down the stretch and, along with some solid work from Chacon, helped them make the playoffs despite numerous injuries. Small only ever started three games in the majors after that, but as witnessed by how clearly I remember it six years later, he made an impression.
Colon, having been a great pitcher in the past, is a horse of a different color – it’s surprising that he still has something, but he’s no journeyman. I remember disliking him intensely when he was on the Angels (at a time when I generally disliked anybody on the Angels) and I have particularly fond memories of Alex Rodriguez taking him deep three times in one game – also in 2005, as it happens. Still, given the expectations I had coming into the season, even if he flames out next month he’s given them more than I’d hoped.
Anyway, like most people I can’t help loving an underdog, and the Yankees have fewer of those than most teams, so while my expectations are still not what you’d call sky-high, I’ll be rooting for Colon. Although I make no promises about cutting down on the colon jokes. For a nickname, might I suggest “The Yankees’ Large Intestine”?And can some fans start showing up on days he starts with signs that just say “:”?
Who do you remember as the most pleasantly surprising Yankees?