Here’s to Bartolo Colon, the strangest but truest offensive force in all the land. Who out there would have wagered that he’d hit a home run this year before Jason Heyward, Justin Turner, Russell Martin, Nick Markakis or his own catcher, Travis d’Arnaud? But it happened.
Hank Aaron hit his last home run — No. 755 — when he was 42 years, 166 days old. Bartolo hit his FIRST home run when he was 42 years, 349 days old. Nobody in history had ever waited until they had logged that many years on earth to hit their first home run. But this guy was pretty much the perfect candidate for that feat, right?
There’s an evolutionary reason for this: Our brains’ job is not to be happy but to make progress. But when we are happy — as, for three months at least, World Series winners are — we simply enjoy; we remain sated.
From this perspective, the GM who stands pat is falling for the delusion of his own happiness; he’s expecting the happiness of that World Series to last forever, when in fact it never will. This, clearly, is what Epstein feared back in 2004. When The Boston Globe named Epstein its Bostonian of the year, it also considered whether the man who assembled the “lovable, series-grabbing squad” would next dismantle it. Epstein rejected the happiness delusion: “There’s no room for sentiment,” he said.
Then again, from another perspective, the GM that embraces his championship squad has jumped off the treadmill, just like Stu. He has recognized that the World Series is only one measure of success, and by bringing the team back intact, the club’s fans get to continue to feel the glowing significance of what they accomplished together.
“You could tell it was his first home run,” quipped Jimmy Fallon, while bringing this up on an episode of “The Tonight Show,” “because at each base, he stopped and asked for directions to the next one.”