With two outs in the second inning and a pitcher with a .089 career average at the plate, an announcer can usually start thinking about the transition to the commercial break.
When Bartolo Colon stepped into the batter's box Saturday night in San Diego, though, Mets commentator Gary Cohen was paying close attention - if only for the possibility that the portly pitcher's helmet could fly off yet again. But once Colon took a mighty cut with a 1-1 count, Cohen recalled Sunday morning, "it was instantaneous from the time the ball left his bat this was something incredibly special."
His voice rising in a mix of shock, jubilance and exhilaration, Cohen roared: "He drives one! Deep left field! Back goes Upton! Back near the wall! It's outta here! Bartolo has done it! The impossible has happened!"
It sounded more like the call of a postseason walk-off home run, but as fans watched a video clip of the two-run shot over and over Saturday night, nearly everyone seemed to agree it fit perfectly.
"The accumulation of elements here: His age, his weight, his former ineptitude at the plate and his personality all kind of tie together into an incredibly special package," Cohen said in a phone interview about 14 hours later.
With his 43rd birthday approaching, Colon became the oldest player to hit his first major league home run, his impressive drive helping the Mets beat the Padres 6-3. By Sunday morning, Cohen had received plenty of excited text messages and emails about his call on the SNY production that aired on PIX in the New York area.
He and his colleagues had speculated before that because Colon is so strong, he could hit the ball a long way if he ever made solid contact, but they never really expected to call a home run.
Cohen, who is in his 28th season working Mets games, was speaking for the club's fans, who adore the way Colon exudes such joy with every game, when he later proclaimed: "This is one of the great moments in the history of baseball."
"He's such a beloved figure," Cohen said Sunday. "I'm just happy to be a part of it."