Indy Owner Pat Salvi Has Vested Interest in Unbeaten Irish And Colabello’s Major League Dream Comes True
While Notre Dame will not have any shortage of supporters when the Irish go after their first national football title since 1988 in the BCS Championship game January 7, it seems unlikely anyone will be more amped than Pat Salvi. In case the name escapes, Salvi is the successful Chicago attorney who along with his wife Lindy owns both the American Association team in Gary, IN and the Schaumburg (IL) Boomers of the Frontier League.
Oh, yes, three generations of Salvi family members have been on or involved with the Fighting Irish gridiron glory, with Pat’s involvements including currently serving as chairman of the Law School Advisory Council.
But the capper is that two of Pat and Lindy’s sons are seniors on this year’s unbeaten team. Chris, who wears number 24, is a 5-foot-10 hustle guy who finally got a scholarship this season and will be on the front line when Notre Dame lines up to start the 60-minute battle against Alabama since he is a two-way regular on special teams. Will Salvi walked on just this season, but will be there wearing his number 36 uniform after serving as a scout team corner this season.
“I’m still pinching myself”, Pat Salvi told me recently, and the pride showed when he reminded that he had been to 37 of Chris’s 38 games since the safety transferred from Butler Universsity three years ago. Each player gets six tickets for the BCS Championship, but Salvi indicated their other three sons plus an assortment of aunts and uncles will swell the family turnout to about 20 people.
Who knows what additional thrills may come from this final game, but Pat Salvi, who wrestled with my question about his biggest Irish thrill, knows Chris Salvi already has accounted for 17 tackles in his career, sprung George Atkinson III for an 88-yard kickoff return touchdown with a key block against Michigan State in 2011 and was both game day captain and winner of the game ball against Navy that same season.
Pat Salvi has passion for his baseball teams, too, including a collegiate team in Lynn, MA. “I tell Miles (Wolff, the American Association commissioner) and Bill Lee (Frontier League boss) to be more pro-active in improving the state of Independent Baseball,” he said. “We need a much higher level of criteria for ownership—credibility to get in and stay in” as well as being certain the teams are “strongly capitalized. Many (major league baseball-affiliated) markets don’t do as well as a number of Independent teams, but are worth more. Until we do this (improved criteria) the value will be diminished.”
Chris Colabello Got the Call Every Player Yearns to Receive
Chris Colabello is trying not to use his cell phone much while playing in Mexico this offseason, but he took the one call this week every Independent player—make that every baseball-playing hopeful—dreams of receiving.
“I got a call…from (Minnesota Twins General Manager) Terry Ryan, and he told me he had been following me every day here in Mexico and that he was calling to officially invite me to major league camp,” the longtime Can-Am League first baseman said via email. “Feet definitely still not on the ground.”
It is necessary to understand Colabello’s career to fully appreciate the significance of that call. The Massachusetts native hit over .300 seven consecutive Can-Am seasons, virtually all with the home-state Worcester Tornadoes (he was with Nashua, NH briefly) before ever being offered a contract by a major league organization. He was turning 28 when the Twins signed him in the fall of 2011, after a .348-20-79 season for Worcester.
The right-handed hitter’s production has been nothing short of amazing since leaving the Independent game. It took a 38-home run, 104-RBI season by another first base prospect, Philadelphia’s Darin Ruf, to keep Colabello from winning MVP honors in the Double-A Eastern League because he drove in a team-record 98 runs and clubbed 19 homers while hitting .284 for New Britain, CT. He has followed that up with strong performances in helping Italy qualify for the World Baseball Classic and in taking the lead in the league batting championship race this offseason with Algodoneros de Guasave. He could win the Triple Crown since his 17 home runs, including one in each of the two games since Ryan’s call, share second in the Mexican League and his 44 runs batted in rank second.
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Greenberg Is Back as Baltimore Minor Leaguer
Adam Greenberg, the hustling outfielder who got one at-bat from the Miami Marlins late this season as a second-chance-signing because of his beaning when he made his very first major league appearance with the Chicago Cubs in ’05, agreed to a minor league deal with Baltimore, MASNsports.com, reported today (Thursday).
Greenberg spent virtually all of 2008-11 with Bridgeport, CT (Atlantic League), but did not play last season except for an appearance with Isreal in the World Baseball Classic qualifier and the one-time Marlins appearance. The gritty lefty said at the time he planned to keep trying to reach the majors.
(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball. Fans may subscribe at www.WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience withKansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives inStratford,CT.)