Just when Oakland Athletics fans had finished chuckling to themselves about the fact that Melky Cabrera had been popped for PED use and suspended for 50 games, a member of the green-and-gold got his own punishment for the same crime. Bartolo Colon was gone for the rest of the regular season, and while he could have been activitated during the ALCS had the A’s gotten there, there was no assurance that would have happened.
February 18, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (40) poses for a picture during photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Colon’s absence down the stretch in 2012 was a big blow to the A’s, but thankfully it didn’t derail what ended up being an incredible run to the playoffs. Who knows though what could have been if Colon was still there in October, the world will never know.
Last week when Bartolo Colon arrived in Phoenix he declined to speak to the media initially, but the belief was he would eventually address his suspension. Today was that day.
Colon, as most of those who have to address situations like this do, didn’t specifcally address his use of testosterone or its effect on his performance in 2012. But he did apologize for the negative impact his transgression had, “The only thing I can say about last year is I apologize to everyone, even the fans, the team, the front office about what happened.” Definitively vague, but acceptable by PED use apology standards. (Quote from Susan Slusser’s “The Drumbeat”)
Colon apparently knew about the impending suspension roughly 6 weeks before his final start for the Athletics, which can be looked at a couple different ways. One, any time he struggled on the mound you can rest assured he may not have been able to focus 100% on the task in front of him; and two, the times he was still effective during that span could be a clue that he can still get the job done without the help of PEDs. This of course makes the assumption that he was clean from that point on. His prospects for 2013 would look fairly good with that in mind.
At this point I find it difficult to hold a grudge against anyone for using a performance enhancer. Maybe I’m just jaded by the frequency of suspensions and players being linked to companies such as Biogenesis in Miami (which Colon was also linked to). We would all prefer to have our players be clean, but it’s just a reality of the game today that players are always looking to get an edge and beat the system. Nobody’s perfect, and people make mistakes, but if Colon makes the same mistake once again there should be no more chances for him in Oakland.