Looks can be deceiving. In Colin Simpson’s case, he doesn’t come off as the typical gymnast.
He’s 5’9″, about 230 pounds, second in the pioneer league in homeruns with 13, and his nick name is ‘Tank’.
The Grand Junction Rockies’ slugger has been tearing up the stat sheets ever since he first started playing pro-ball. The Colorado Rockies picked him in the 29th round of the 2019 MLB draft, and he has not disappointed.
He was named Pioneer League All-Star, Pioneer Player of the Week once, and he leads the league in slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging.
One might think that he has dedicated all of his time to baseball being how good of a player he is. However, growing up he was competing in gymnastics.
He might be the last person you would expect to do back-flips during batting practice or do any other flips, but that was Colin’s first passion.
“Most people are kind of shocked,” Simpson said. “They look at me and they go, ‘A guy like that should not be able to do a back flip.’ It’s pretty funny to see the reactions I get out of people.”
People ask, and Simpson puts on a mini show.
“I just drop whatever I have in my hands, bust out a back flip and keep on going,” Simpson added.
Ever since the age of three, Tank grew up spending most of his time at the gymnastics gym that his mom worked at.
“I was at the gym for four hours a day, about six days a week,” Simpson said. “On Sundays I was at the gym for 2-3 hours. Plus my mom worked there. That four hours was just the practice I was at.
“I was there two hours before my practice, I was there after practice until my mom closed the gym. I was a gym rat. I lived there, I loved it.”
He loved it so much that he began competing and people saw his potential.
“I was told by a couple of my coaches that if I didn’t quit and I chose gymnastics over every other sport by the age of 18, 19, 20 I would’ve had a college scholarship somewhere and they said there was a good chance that I could possibly made the Olympics,” Simpson said.
Now, Colin was so young that he says he doesn’t exactly recall how good he was.
“I was always a year ahead. So, if I was eight, I was always competing against the nine year olds,” Simpson added. “I won a lot of my events, I was always told that I was really really good at gymnastics but I don’t really recall exactly how good I was.”
Even with Olympic gold as a future possibility, Colin decided that the physical stress of the sport was too much.
“By the time I was 10 or 11, my body was pretty taxed already. It was a blast, I don’t regret it, I had so much fun doing gymnastics.”Colin Simpson
But, that doesn’t stop him from busting out a trick as a 23-year-old pro baseball player.
“I usually do a standing back tuck, but I can do a standing front flip, side flip, standing fulls, tumbling passes, I can still do it all,” Simpson said.