While spring training can be devastating for those who have to face the reality of not making a team, it also brings out a great deal of happiness for some, especially for those players who have labored a long time to reach a certain level.
Down in Fort Myers, FL where the Minnesota Twins train there seems to be one really happy, perhaps giddy player.
The guy who we can almost picture with a constant grin is first baseman Chris Colabello, last season’s Most Valuable Player in the Can-Am League as well as Baseball America magazine’s choice as Independent Baseball Player of the Year. What makes the 6-foot-4 Colabello so happy is that after seven seasons of playing in the Can-Am League he is finally getting his first solid opportunity to play for a major league organization.
This type of opportunity does not happen often for a 28-year-old who did not get drafted out of Assumption College (Worcester, MA) and has waited so long, spending all this time with the professional Tornadoes in the same Massachusetts community. He did have half a season in Nashua, NH in 2007, then it was right back to Worcester.
“Through all the tribulations in Independent ball, I always believed there would come a point where somebody would give me an opportunity,” Colabello told columnist Tom Powers of The St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press. “I’m so grateful to be here.”
Twins Farm Director Jim Rantz points out why the organization decided to give Colabello a chance. “Look at the numbers he put up,” Rantz told The Pioneer Press. “We have some slots to fill.” Those numbers include career Can-Am figures of 86 home runs, 420 RBI and a .317 average for 583 games, with career bests of 20, 79 and .348 last season.
If all goes well, the right-handed-hitting Colabello may end up at first base for the New Britain (CT) Rock Cats in the Eastern League, earning about $1,600 a month (less than he made in Worcester), and within two levels of one day possibly suiting up at Target Field in Minneapolis.
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