When Bartolo Colon and his teammates staged a mini-media strike this spring over a columnist’s fat jokes about him, your first response might have been: “But he’s pretty fat.” Truth is the ultimate defense for libel, if not bullying, and there’s something about an elite athlete (or whatever we want to call somebody who is elite in an athletic pursuit) who is strangely proportioned that invites attention.

But the strike was justified, and the jokes were not. Here’s the thing about Colon: He does so, so much to entertain us, to make us happy, to make us laugh, to have fun at his own expense, to challenge our preconceptions about the way the game needs to be played, to be beloved both by those who know him and those of us who don’t. You can write forever about Bartolo Colon without stooping to cheap fat jokes. There’s his hitting ability, his swing, his single-minded fastballing, his incredible career trajectory. He undergoes mysterious surgeries, he consumes illicit drugs, he’s absolutely terrified of on-camera interviews, he’s 1,000 years old. You can make GIFs of him twerking, or GIFs of him jiggling his belly (which is not itself a fat joke but an appreciation of his body consciousness), or GIFs of him making funny faces while attempting to bunt. You can do this. Cheap fat jokes aren’t so much mean as they are bad writing.

Here’s something else you might write about: After Colon grounded out two starts ago, and he pealed off toward the dugout before reaching first base, the Mets television announcers had this discussion:

Gary Cohen: Has he made it to first base yet this year?

Ron Darling: I don’t think he’s made it all the way there. But he’s close. He’s making it about 78 feet and then once he gets there he takes a little tail to the right and then shuts it down.

We know that Bartolo Colon hasn’t made it to first base *safely* this year, but can it be that he hasn’t actually touched the base as an offensive player even once? That can’t be, right? Thirty-three of Colon’s plate appearances exist online; in 13 of those he put the ball in play. Thirteen chances to touch first base. Going in reverse chronological order:

**May 28, second at-bat**

Did he touch: No.

If yes, how long did it take: N/A

How close did he get: ~77 feet down the line

Did he drop his bat: No

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: N/A

Note: This is the at-bat that preceded the Cohen/Darling conversation. Here’s an alternate view of Colon running down the line, which I’m including just because it shows the standard Colon Face after he puts the ball in play: It’s not just that he smiles; it’s that he smiles multiple times, like the absurdity of this whole thing comes in waves. I think I can count three distinct smiles here, interrupted by Colon going about his business.

**May 28, first at-bat**

Did he touch: No.

If yes, how long did it take: N/A

How close did he get: ~83 feet down the line

Did he drop his bat: No

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: N/A

More Cohen/Darling:

Cohen: What’s the thing with not dropping the bat? Does he not want to bend down and pick it up? The bat boy will pick it up for him.

Darling: He’s a clean freak.

**May 17, second at-bat**

Did he touch: Yes

If yes, how long did it take: 7.38 seconds (estimated, no clean look)

How close did he get: N/A

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: Nine

Delightfully, the camera actually cuts to the infielders throwing the ball around and then cuts back to Colon touching the base. Also, delightfully, he seems to have jogged all the way just so he could give Tyler Moore a pat. Tyler Moore! Like those guys are pals or something. I bet they’ve never even met. Tyler Moore.

**May 17, first at-bat**

Did he touch: No

If yes, how long did it take: N/A

How close did he get: ~87 feet down the line

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: Two

**May 1**

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Did he touch: Yes

If yes, how long did it take: 6.61 seconds

How close did he get: N/A

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: Eight

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**April 24**

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Did he touch: Yes

If yes, how long did it take: 6.43 seconds

How close did he get: N/A

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: Two

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**GUM INTERLUDE**

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WHAT THE HECK BARTOLO

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**April 8**

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Did he touch: Probably

If yes, how long did it take: 6.3 seconds (estimated)

How close did he get: N/A

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: Two

**April 2**

Did he touch: Yes

If yes, how long did it take: 6.47 seconds

How close did he get: N/A

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: Unclear, but looks like one or two. The bat shattered.

**August 2013**

Did he touch: No

If yes, how long did it take: N/A

How close did he get: ~65 feet down the line

Did he drop his bat: No

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: N/A

**July 2013**

Did he touch: No

If yes, how long did it take: N/A

How close did he get: ~77 feet down the line

Did he drop his bat: No

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: N/A

**June 2013**

This was a deep fly ball, which the camera followed instead of following Bartolo Colon, so the slow replay is the best we’ve got:

Did he touch: No

If yes, how long did it take: N/A

How close did he get: ~75 feet down the line, based on how many steps he took and his typical stride to first base.

Did he drop his bat: No

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: N/A

Bob Uecker, noting that Colon hadn’t dropped the bat, suggests that he was afraid of Yuniesky Betancourt, playing at first base.

**Lone 2012 ball in play**

Did he touch: Yes

If yes, how long did it take: N/A

How close did he get: N/A

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: One

This is Bartolo actually running. We don’t have a camera on him, so we don’t know how long it took him, but based on the time it took him to leave the frame, and the number of steps he had taken, I’d put a 5.30 on him. I’d guess that the median time of BP readers and authors is about the same. After this play, and I swear this isn't a joke and I swear I'm not making it up, the A's trainer and manager had to come out and spend two minutes examining and nursing Colon.

**Lone 2011 ball in play**

Did he touch: We’ll never know.

If yes, how long did it take: It is only for the gods to see.

How close did he get: On the day that you were born the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true.

Did he drop his bat: Yes

If he did, how many steps did he take before doing so: One

We’ve learned a lot here today. We’ve learned that Bartolo Colon doesn’t often make it to first, but that he is not strictly opposed to first. In the 10 plays that we can rule on conclusively, excluding the one time he actually reached base, he touched first four times. It’s likely he touched base in one of the two mystery plays, and in the final one we just can’t say. His average time to first is about 6.72 seconds, or about the time it takes to type one factoid about what can be accomplished in 6.72 seconds. We’ve also learned that he does drop his bat, sometimes, and he doesn’t drop his bat, often. We’ve learned roughly how fast he can run when he has to run, and we’ve learned, in great detail, what it looks like when he runs. It looks a bit like a fat guy running. But that’s not something we would dwell on.