When I was much younger, 20youk and I would go to Worcester Tornadoes games together. As of last year, not much had changed. We'd find time in the summer to go a ballpark that was rarely filled to 1/4 of its capacity just to watch the hometown boys play. As of this year, the Worcester Tornadoes don't exist. In one off-season filled with the total uprooting of the franchise, Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field is now without a semi-pro baseball team. I give immense credit to the ownership and baseball executives, because for a while they fielded a team that was very well rounded and had a fair amount of talent. In their first season in the league, they won the Can-Am league championship.
The memories of attending Tornadoes games will always be vivid for me...but that's all I have now- memories. Believe me, some of those memories are nothing short of spectacular. Last year, on opening day, we saw the Tornadoes field a team headlined by the presence of former MLB slugger Jose Canseco. That stint was brief, and filled with a lot of disappointment for everyone involved. One game, we saw the now-defunct Brockton Rox franchise trot to the mound a submarine throwing RHP by the name of Joshua Papelbon, brother and polar opposite of Jonathan. That was a unique experience. Perhaps my favorite memory, however, was watching Chris Colabello play 1B the Tornadoes. The pride of Worcester and a graduate of Assumption College, Chris would do so much for the Tornadoes franchise. Today, he is a member of the Minnesota Twins; He now has a hit to his name at the major league level.
He blossomed for seven seasons in the Can-Am league before anyone gave him a legitimate chance, besides a brief 22 day spring training stint with Detroit in 2006. In 2010, the Minnesota twins gave him a spring training invitation. Here, he would prove that he belonged with the organization by surprising everyone and making the AA New Britain Rock Cats where he would go on to hit .284 with 19 HRs and 98 RBIs. This season, he earned a spot at AAA Rochester, where he was absolutely tearing up AAA pitching by hitting .358 with 12 HRs and 39 RBIs. Well, the Twins took notice. After placing OF Trevor Plouffe on the DL, they called up Colabello. After going 0-4 in his first game, he would notch his first MLB hit a few days later. I have to many of Chris' autographs to count. I've even held conversations with him. From what I remember, he was a great guy.
I honestly could not be more happy for Colabello. I'm so happy that he achieved his ambition, an ambition and a dream that he never gave up on. I most certainly can't wait to pick up his first official RC, which would end up being his first baseball card other than the team-issued Worcester Tornadoes cards (I've got a few). If and when Topps produces a few of his other cards, I definitely anticipate them. They say memories keep alive great moments in your life, and growing up watching Chris Colabello become a star from the brink of irrelevancy is a memory I'll forever cherish.