colabello rbi record
NEW BRITAIN, CT - New Britain
first baseman Chris Colabello launched
a sacrifice fly into center
score Oswaldo Arcia in the midst of a six-run fourth inning by the Rock
and with that, he became the new franchise single-season RBI record
"I really haven't taken much time to
think about it," said
Colabello, "but it seems like a pretty cool thing. At one point it will
this off-season and I'll realize all the great players who have come
Colabello, who broke Steve Hacker's
record of 97 RBI set in
1999, currently has 98 RBI with one game left in the regular season.
looks to become the first ever player in New Britain franchise history
in 100 runs.
At 28 years old, Colabello was simply
thrilled to be given
the opportunity to play with a Major League affiliated team for the
in his career this season. Colabello starred at Division II Assumption
before going undrafted in 2005. He signed with the Worchester Tornadoes
became a local hero of sorts, all while waiting for the chance to take
step. The Minnesota Twins finally gave the former Independent League
shot when they signed Colabello this past off-season - and it has more
Colabello has been the offensive
leader all season for the
Rock Cats. He has also provided the team with leadership, despite
being an Eastern League rookie.
Hailing from Milford, Mass.,
Colabello has been able to play
in front of family and friends on a regular basis - something uncommon
On Saturday night when he tied the
mark, his family was
right there cheering from the stands. Among the most nervous was his
Silvana, who alternated from standing and cheering for her son to
pacing the concrete behind her seats. Colabello gave them something to
celebrate when he lined a double up the middle into center field to
Herrmann. The RBI tied the game and tied the franchise single-season
"I tried to keep it out of my mind.
It's obviously a nice
honor to have. Anything I can do to help the team win games, especially
point when we are in a playoff race. I hit it hard and it went through.
didn't even realize it was the RBI to tie it," said Colabello.
His family and friends were out
in droves once again on
Sunday when he set the new franchise record.
It is something his father, Lou, who estimated about 30-40
family members turned out this weekend to watch Chris make history, was
obviously proud to witness.
"I think right now it's just a
phenomenal experience," said
the elder Colabello. "I just said to my friend, I don't think I've ever
experienced anything better than this in my whole life. I just hope
efforts get him to the next level and if they don't then we can just
Twins for giving him the opportunity to be here. I can tell you
probably the happiest kid in the world right now."
The fact that Lou and Silvana - along
with friends and
family members - were in the stadium to witness the feat is storybook
itself. Most players in Double-A aren't able to have a constant
home cheering them on from the stands. With the Colabello family in
Mass., they have the rare opportunity to drive less than 100 miles to
Chris play for the Rock Cats. It is something his dad has been
"Counting today, I think this is my 97th
said Lou Colabello. "At the beginning of the season, I made it a point
as many games as I could. My wife (who was born in Italy) was in Europe
seven weeks and that gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time
Lou Colabello explained that he has
always had a close bond
to his son. With Lou's own father once having a dream of his son
affiliated baseball - even though Lou admits he probably wasn't good
enough - it
became Lou's dream for his son as well. Baseball has helped bond the
"We've had our days because I played
baseball and I coached
baseball and I've been his mentor since he was six so we have our
we seem to always get through them. It's just been so exciting," said
The elder Colabello also
mentioned how fortunate he was to
be able to witness his son achieve such a momentous personal
Lou explained how he met other players' girlfriends and parents and
believe that they were only able to visit for a week - or even a
has become close to players such as Aaron Hicks who have family far
asked them how their families manage.
"I know the games I didn't go, the
most nerve wracking thing
is listening on the radio. (Rock Cats radio announcer) Jeff (Dooley) is
amazing announcer but it's like a heart attack every time he's up
Lou Colabello. "We were blessed to watch him play in the Independent
(for the Worchester Tornadoes). He was a half hour away from our house.
this year was just a gift from heaven, it really was."
Chris has also appreciated the fact
that his family is so
close and so involved in his baseball career.
"It's been unbelievable," he said.
"To think about how
fortunate I was to be able to play this close to my hometown and have
around on an almost nightly basis and to have their support. When
rough it's always nice to look up and see a friendly face. I play this
them as much as I do for myself. I know they have been supportive and
passionate. It's great. I love them and I appreciate them being here."
Photos: (top right) Daniel Rohlfing
greets Chris Colabello at the dugout steps after the record-breaking
on Sunday ; (middle) Colabello hits a sac fly RBI for his
record-breaking 98th RBI of the season; (bottom right) the Colabello
family, inlcuding mom, Silvana (in orange) , cheer after Colabello tied
the redord on Saturday night.