After the bus ride, the car accident, the airport scramble and the sleepless night, how difficult could playing baseball be? “I just figured it would be hard” to get to Atlanta, Chris Colabello said after his first major league game, “because that’s how things go in my life.” Good point. He spent seven years tearing up the Can-Am independent league before any team even gave him a long look. So why should this be any easier? “It was everything I could ever imagine it to be,” he said of his first game, even after going 0-for-4 Wednesday with two strikeouts. “Overall, an amazing experience. I’m kind of at a loss for words.” His Rochester teammates had no such problem when manager Gene Glynn interrupted their card game around 1 a.m. Wednesday, about an hour into a four-hour overnight bus ride from Allentown, Pa., to Rochester. His news: Trevor Plouffe was going on the disabled list, and the Twins wanted Colobello to meet them here in time for Wednesday’s game — in about 12 hours. So much for the card game. “A little bit of shock, little bit of tears, little bit of laughter,” he said of the jubilant onboard celebration in his honor. “To see the excitement a lot of those guys had for me was one of the things that was most special about the moment.” One problem: His flight was scheduled for 6:25 a.m. The bus was due to arrive by 4 a.m., until a passenger car collided with it on an upstate New York freeway. They pulled over for an hour while the accident was sorted out — no injuries, fortunately — but suddenly, Colabello’s timeline was tight. He got to the airport at 5:47, he said, “and the [security] line was moving pretty slow. They could see I was sweating, and they called me to the front.” The Red Wings first baseman got to Turner Field in time, and was immediately put into the starting lineup — in right field. It’s a position he has played before, but not regularly since 2011, though he has been taking fly balls for three weeks to prepare. Mostly, he’s here for his bat. Colabello might be a 29-year-old rookie, but he was ripping International League pitching apart — a .358 average with 12 homers and 39 RBI. And now he can get some sleep. “Sleep is overrated,” he said with a laugh.
Colabello takes a long, strange trip to majors
Minneapolis Star Tribune | May 23