Colabello Homers on Mom's Birthday, the Story Continues
Maybe I am a horrible child! I think the best gift I ever gave my mom for her birthday was, well, maybe when I drew/colored her a picture or something when I was really young. Chris Colabello gave his mom a really cool birthday present last night.
With his mother, Silvana, chatting on FSN with Marney Gellner, she saw her son tie the game at two with a two-run home run. In her excitement, you can hear her say, "Another present!"
What the remarkable video right here:
Move ahead to the 12th inning, and Chris Colabello gave his teammates a great gift. With Joe Mauer on third base and Trevor Plouffe on second base, Rays' manager Joe Maddon decided to pitch to Colabello. Bad guy Josh Lueke got ahead of Colabello 0-2, but he battled and eventually hit a single up the middle to score two more runs and give the Twins a 6-4 lead. After Glen Perkins shut the door in the bottom of the inning, the Twins got back to .500 at 10-10.
The Chris Colabello story just continues to get better and better. When the Twins signed him before spring training 2012, he was hoping to do enough just to make an affiliated team's roster for the first time after seven years of independent ball.
After a solid season in New Britain, Colabello got an invitation to Twins' big league spring training in 2013. He was able to leave camp to play for the surprising Team Italy in the WBC.
He went to AAA Rochester, but on May 22, 2013, he made his major league debut.
His story could have ended there and it could have been a story meant for Disney. But the story continued into the 2014 season.
He had a very interesting offseason. Though few believed that he would make the Twins' 25 man roster for Opening Day, some thought he could be a candidate to be DFA'd during the offseason. He wasn't. However, a team from South Korea came to the Twins and offered Colabello and the Twins a lot of money for him to play there.
He wasn't guaranteed a spot on the Twins major league roster, but he chose again to believe in himself and his dreams and his goals. No one would have blamed him for taking the money in Korea. He would have made almost as much in one season there as he would make in two full seasons in the big leagues.
As he told me at spring training, "I played baseball, sometimes literally for nothing for a long time, so it's not and has never been about the money."
In a Twins Daily Q&A with Colabello from before the 2013 season, he talked about what he learned about the game while playing in the independent leagues, "Independent baseball taught me a lot about myself. I was blessed to play for Rich Gedman who taught me so much about the game, and most importantly that as long as I had a uniform on, that there was a chance someone would see me."
He believed in himself, and he got the job done this spring, earning a spot on his first Opening Day roster. Even then, he wasn't necessarily a starter. He was the team's DH on Opening Day largely because the Twins faced lefty Chris Sale. He has produced, and that is why he remains in the every-day lineup, in the middle of the order.
Not only is he hitting in the middle of the order, he is becoming quite the run producer. Yes, RBI is a stat that a player accumulates largely due to what hitters in front of him do. However, through the first three-and-a-half weeks of the season, he has come through and driven in runs whenever the opportunity has presented itself.
When Colabello singled in Mauer and Plouffe in the 12th inning, it gave him 26 RBI in April. That number ties Kirby Puckett for the record for most RBI in April, and there are still six games to play.
Again, two years ago at this time, Colabello was making his affiliated baseball debut in New Britain, and today, his name is in the same sentence as Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.
If there is a story in baseball in the past several years that is better than Chris Colabello, please let me know what it is.
Colabello has his head on his shoulders. He speaks about the process as much as the results. He understands well that there are things that he can control and other things that he can't.
From the January 2013 interview, Colabello spoke of this. "My biggest goal is to be able to adjust and be in the moment to the best of my ability. Hitting is so much more about process than it is about results. If you can make a commitment to taking care of the process, the results will take care of themselves."
It's that thinking that will continue to give Colabello an opportunity. He's earned more time with an incredible April. If the month were to end right now, Colabello would have to be the favorite for player of the month.
Helping his team win and giving his Mom great birthday presents, Colabello is getting the job done, and it's really fun to watch.
Also, since the Twins beat the Rays on Silvana Colabello's birthday, today (Thursday) you can get 50% off a L or XL pizza from PapaJohns.com if you use the 'TWINSWIN' promo code.