If you needed any more evidence that Bartolo Colon, the ageless wonder and 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner, has become a full-fledged Thing during his late-career renaissance, know this: Thursday evening, hours after the Mets' 6-3 win over the Braves, "Bartolo Colon" was trending nationally on Twitter.
That's Colon -- who shall henceforth be called just "Bartolo" -- chasing down Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski for the rare unassisted pickoff. Go ahead, watch that Vine a few more (dozen) times. We'll be here.
It was only the latest hysterical moment in Bartolo's recent history, which has included but is not limited to: an RBI single, his helmet falling off mid-swing, his helmet falling off mid-swing during said RBI single, cat-like defensive plays, his general existence, and wins, four in as many tries this season.
Here we seek to recount some of the best recent Bartolo moments, but first, some scene-setting facts to help everyone understand the man, the myth, the legend:
1) He is rotund, listed at 5-foot-11 and 285 pounds.
2) He is very often smiling -- downright jolly, you could say.
3) He is nicknamed "Bart," which just sounds kind of goofy.
4) He pretty much only throws a sinker (47 percent of the time) and four-seamer (40 percent) with little velocity but impeccable control.
4) He turns 42 next month. In baseball, that's old.
5) His career appeared to be petering out in the late '00s. He took 2010 off, then came back with the Yankees in 2011 and was an All-Star with the A's in 2013.
6) He must have a great public relations guy. Bartolo has enjoyed one of the greatest image turnarounds in recent memory, going from suspended PED user in 2012 to everybody's favorite big guy now.
Now, for those #TalesOfBartolo:
That time he knocked in a run for the first time in a decade
The young 2015 season has treated Bartolo well. On April 12, that included an RBI single. Bartolo broke his bat and lost his helmet in the process. The ball barely landed on the outfield grass. It was his first RBI since June 2005.
It was beautiful. Look at the pure joy on his face.
That time he knocked in a run for the second start in a row
Five days after his first RBI in 10 years, he did it again. This one came on a sacrifice fly. The smile wasn't as big, because Bartolo is basically a regular at this now, but the crowd goes crazy.
That time he carried a perfect game into the seventh
Again: Large dude, 41 years old, unimpressive fastball. Perfect game into the seventh (last July). What a time to be alive.
That time he doubled and laughed (and later scored)
In terms of exciting things to happen to the Mets last year, this base knock from June was up there.
Watch the replays on this one -- he wasn't running hard, didn't really know how to make the turn at first base and was basically walking by the time he got to second. Hey, 180 feet is a long way.
That time he lost his helmet
This is from April 2014, when the Bartolo bandwagon really started to get crowded and around the time Bartolo at-bats became mini-events within the game itself.
And then the next month…
And then the month after that…
That time he lost his helmet and carried his bat to first
Both of these became regular occurrences at Citi Field in 2014. Here's a video from May that has both in one.
A dig through the archives reveals this helmet thing has happened before -- during his brief stint with the Red Sox in 2008, when Boston visited Philly. All this time, we should've been rooting for Bartolo to sign with a National League team.
Why has nobody found out why this keeps happening?
In all seriousness, Bartolo has been an integral part of the Mets for the last season-plus, a steady member of the rotation and a mentor of sorts to some of the younger, Latino players, especially on the pitching side. Trade rumors will probably kick around this summer, much like they did last year and especially if the Mets' Triple-A rotation depth makes a push for a promotion, but he'd be a valuable piece down the stretch.
Long live Bartolo.
Tim Healey is a contributor to Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.