Forgiving Bartolo Colon


Last spring I had the distinction of writing a long-winded article here at the Swingin’ A’s, regarding the signing of Bartolo Colon and the revolutionary surgical procedure he endured to save his career. I’ve taken the liberty of sparing the details, with the exception of one relevant revelation. In the article, I stated specifically that “Major League Baseball has launched an investigation into the procedure, due to the unfamiliarity of the surgery and the legal use of banned substances in the Dominican Republic”.

. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

We all know what happened next. Colon was a  strike-thowing machine, and a major asset to the 2012 rotation. In the midst of his most successful and healthiest season since his Cy Young campaign of 2005, he was suspended for testing positive for synthetic testosterone on August 22 effectively ending his season. The news blindsided the organization and their fan base. Coming just days after registering his 10th victory by limited Cleveland to a single run over 8 innings, Colon was riding high as the elder statesman of a stellar rotation. I had the pleasure of being in the stands during his last start, unbeknownst that this would be the last time I would watch him pitch in 2012.

When the news broke, I felt cheated. Not surprised per se, but definitely betrayed. To make matters worse, this had followed a week long period where I relentlessly ridiculed Giants fans for losing Melky Cabrera for the exact same PED violation. Oh, how quickly the weather can change. Now with my foot firmly implanted in my mouth, I hated Bartolo Colon more than I did during his Angels days. The level of pure disgust was multiplied tenfold when Brandon McCarthy went down weeks later with his horrific skull fracture, and the A’s were left without a veteran rotation anchor for the seasons final weeks.

Again, we all know what happened next. The fledgeling rotation held it together, the Rangers folded like a poker table, and the Angels faded into the third place. Colon presumably went back home to serve out his 50-game suspension in peace and plan his next move. Pushing 40 years of age and with a reputation now tainted by PED’s, it was safe to assume that Colon would have had trouble finding a job for 2013. Spitting in the face of logical thought and enthralled by the a decent Winter Ball return, the A’s re-signed Colon to a guaranteed one-year deal on November 3rd.

This weeks arrival at A’s camp brought to the light the fact that Colon would not be speaking to the press, and had so far not offered an apology for last years suspension to his teammates. I for one tend to believe that actions speak louder than words, and look forward to watching his attempt to put last years demons to rest and return to form. While he’ll have trouble shaking the scarlet letter of a convicted PED user, Colon has a second chance to prove that his 2012 success was not solely attributed to the use of testosterone.

What he does with this second chance…well that’s completely up to him.