La famille Colabello au petit écran italien
Texte écrit par Bob Wirz (via www.canamleague.com)
Along with many other free agents, it is not known where longtime Can-Am star first baseman Chris Colabello will be playing baseball this season.
Colabello is still in the news, however, with both Chris and his onetime baseball-playing dad, Lou, featured in a new documentary about Italian-Americans in the sport and with a scholarship in his name for someone at his old high school in Milford, MA.
Knowing the history of both generations playing baseball for Team Italy, radio disc jockey, history teacher and documentarian Roberto Angotti promised the Colabello family he would premier the hour-long "Italian American Baseball", which has won the 2017 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Award, in their hometown in Massachusetts.
The debut took place recently, and the annual scholarship was revealed. "We want it (scholarship) to be (given to) a kid who goes the extra mile, both in the classroom and in athletics," Lou Colabello told The Metro West Daily News.
"Not many people know about baseball in Italy", explained the elder Colabello, who pitched for the country in the '84 Olympics. "When I was asked to play my first year, I was like 'I know they play soccer, but not baseball'. But between Americans of Italian descent who had made a name for themselves--Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Tommy Lasorda, Mike Piazza--there's a good tradition there."
Chris Colabello's story of playing seven seasons in the Can-Am League before a major league organization (Minnesota) gave him a chance is well known. He finally debuted for the Twins when he was 29 (in 2013) and has 28 major league home runs and 111 RBI in 225 games while playing for Minnesota and Toronto, but has not played in the majors since '16. He was in the Cleveland and Milwaukee farm systems last season.
He spent nearly a month of the offseason playing in Mexico, and has been working out with hitting instructor Bob Tewksbary in Nashua, NH as he looks for another opportunity.
Terrific in Mexico
Left hander Ryan Bollinger, who spent nearly three years with Trois-Rivieres (2014-16), bolstered his credentials for joining the New York Yankees farm system this season with some outstanding work in Australia this winter.
The Californian, who turns 27 February 4, tied for the league lead with five victories (5-1) and strikeouts (75 in 54.1 innings) and had the third best earned run average (3.48). He only walked 12 as he helped the Brisbane Bandits win the league championship.
Rockland southpaw Liarvis Breto and first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor (Quebec), signed recently by Detroit and Washington, respectively, and Boulders right hander Mayckol Guaipe helped Anzoategui win the Venezuelan League championship this winter. Guaipe only allowed nine hits in 22 innings with Rockland last summer while striking out 31. He won all three of his decisions and saved 14 other games while compiling a 2.04 ERA.
About Bob Wirz
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and a book about his life, "The Passion of Baseball", is available at traditional book-buying sites, or at www.WirzandAssociates.com.