Out of sight, but not out of mind. Colabello can still hit

10/07/2017 6:43 PM - Devo

Chris Colabello was the feel good story everyone loves. An unsigned Independent league journeyman relegated to spending his days racking up huge numbers, never got the chance to prove he could hit big league pitching. When he finally did, we loved him for it, until we were hit with a bombshell.

Colabello had his coming out party with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. he hit .321 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI and always seemed to get the big hit when they needed it. Unfortunately, one of the Jays most popular folk heroes tested positive for a performing enhancing substance. He was suspended for 80 games and ultimately this led to his free agency.

He's always proclaimed his innocence, but all in all he'll be dubbed a cheater and there's nothing you or I can do about that. What we can do is revel in the fact that despite the bump in the road, and tarnished reputation, Colabello has not given up on his dream of playing Major League Baseball.

Once he left the Jays, he signed with the World Series favourite Cleveland Indians (Triple A). Unfortunately, the career .295 hitter and 2013 International League MVP, never lived up to expectations and released by the Indians in July of 2017 after hitting .225 in 72 games.. He was picked up one week later by the Milwaukee Brewers who assigned him to Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League.

 

After he arrived, it was as if it was 2015 all over again. The .225 average in his first stint was forgotten. Colabello batted .301 in his last 44 games including hitting at a .410 clip over his last 10.

Now, I'm torn on how I see all of this. I've followed Colabello's career for many years and it's disappointing that it got derailed the way it did. If you haven't seen the Sportsnet interview with him you should. He's very open and honest, and it sure appears he had no idea how the foreign substance got into his system, but we'll never know. The die has been cast and there's no turning back, regardless of what he did or didn't do.

At 33 going on 34, he's by no means a spring chicken, but he can hit there's no doubt about that. He's done the time. Now it's time to give him his due.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

American Association boasts an impressive leaderboard

10/02/2017 6:10 PM - Devo

With the American Association season under wraps, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes crowned as back to back AA champs, it's always fun to take a look at season ending standouts. This week we’re going focus on three offensive leaders; Shawn Pleffner, Jabari Henry, and Matt Chavez.

Former Washington Nationals draft pick, and current Goldeyes first baseman, Shawn Pleffner lead the AA with a .340 batting average (career high). To go with 10 home runs and 76 RBI, he crushed 30 doubles. His .897 OPS was also a personal best, and without a doubt, raised some eyebrows in the scouting world. Heck, a career .298 can’t be held in check forever.

Jabari Henry, outfielder for the Sioux Falls Canaries, led the league with 29 home runs. Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from Florida International University, Henry’s known for his power. After a career year in 2014 with High A High Desert, his numbers took a drastic hit once promoted to Double A (.168 BA in 2015 and .213 in 2016). After resurgent 2017 that included a .401 OBP and .617 SLG, he’s once again shown all doubters what he can do.

Matt Chavez, the former Pacific Association MVP and current Wichita Wingnut, has been crushing it the past three seasons. To put this into perspective, his career batting average is .343, and over the last three seasons looks something like this; .383, .359, and .330. Consistently among the league’s best, Chavez puts up numbers like it's nobody’s business. Whether it’s the double digit home runs, OBP in the high .400’s, or two consecutive seasons with an OPS over 1.000, there’s no reason he can’t get an invite to spring training.

 
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Lightning in a bottle: Tony "Lightning" Luis is destined for greatness

09/26/2017 6:52 PM - Devo

Tony "Lightning" Luis, the current NABA-WBA Lightweight champion, makes his first title defense October 14 in Cornwall, Ontario. But that's not the whole story. You don't just walk in the ring and know how to fight. It takes years of sacrifice and a multitude of ups and downs to get where Luis has gotten. I had the privilege to speak with Luis about his early years, how he got involved in boxing, and how a computer malfunction ultimately made him a stronger person.

The GM’s Perspective: People see the bright lights, the glamour, and the money, but not the behind the scenes. What is your typical training regimen like, especially with a title fight coming up on October 14 where you, Tony “Lightning” Luis (24-3 8 KO's), defend your NABA-WBA Lightweight championship  at the Cornwall Civic Complex, when you face Giovanni Straffon (14-2-1 9 KO’s)?

Tony “Lightning” Luis: For instance, my last three training sessions for the week will be tomorrow (Friday) and that will be the end of a six day stretch where I’ve been going sometimes twice a day. That’s a combination of, a minimum, five boxing sessions a week (two to three hours) and half are my hard sparring days. I do my strength and conditioning in the morning which consists of long-distance running. Other days it could be sprints and interval training. Of course I incorporate a variety of sport specific strength training (weightlifting, plyometrics).

GMs: Do people really truly understand the work you do to get to the level you’re at today?

TL: I think the majority of people don’t because, simply, they don’t see it. They only see the final product on fight night. People always think so and so made X amount of dollars, but they don’t know that I went two months without pay to get to this moment here. Sometimes training costs money if you have to bring in sparring partners or you need to upgrade equipment…

GMs: For those unfamiliar with your story, how’d you get involved with boxing?

TL: I got my start as a young kid in martial arts. I was about seven years old when my dad put me in Karate. My dad was a black belt in three different disciplines and was one of my sensei’s.

I was in karate for about five years and pretty successful in a variety of karate and kickboxing tournaments. I was a blue belt at the time, but my goal was to get a black belt. I was close, but at around nine years old, my dad had an opportunity to go back to his roots and start teaching boxing again at a local fitness center.

For a few years I was juggling both; karate and boxing. When I got a little older I had to make a choice between the two and boxing got my heart. I discovered my dad’s old fight collection he accumulated over the years as a fan and once I started diving into his old amateur tapes I was hooked.

Photo courtesy - Liveco Boxing

GMs: What’s it like defending your title in your hometown of Cornwall? What can the fans expect when you get in the ring?

TL: They can expect speed, action and lots of intensity. I bring it every time. I love to entertain and put on a good show. The fans will get their money’s worth.

GMs: Tell me about the scoring error that directly impacted your route to the Beijing Olympics in 2007. How did you handle that? When you talk about mental strength and the ability to overcome, this has to be at the top of the list...

TL: If I would’ve won in the final, I wouldn’t have been guaranteed a slot in the Olympics, but I would have been given the opportunity to try and qualify. I would’ve had the chance to attend Olympic qualifiers and at least medal at one of them to try and make the team.

I won my regionals and provincials and three fights later I’m in the finals of the Nationals against the three year defending champion and Boxing Canada’s athlete team rep.

So, I’m ahead after half-way through the fight and after the third round he’s two points up...I bounce back and have a pretty good fourth round. And with twenty seconds to go in the last round (I’ll never forget it), they said their was a computer malfunction and the computers froze. And all the points in the fourth round never counted and went back to the previous score in the third round to determine the winner.

I was very bitter, but at the same time relieved. I knew the result didn’t define my performance or who I was as a fighter.

GMs: Since turning pro, you’ve held multiple titles, including the NABA-WBA Lightweight championship. Not many people are able to do what you do. What do you attribute as the driving force behind your success?

TL: I love this game. This game has taught me so much about myself, built my character, and has been my safe haven and refuge when I went through some difficult times in my personal life. It’s always been something to steer me back on track whenever life gets tough.

Photo courtesy - Liveco Boxing

GMs: You’re fighting in your hometown in a few weeks. And being a hometown champion, there’s probably more than one person that looks up to you. What does that mean to you?

TL: It’s humbling. A boxer’s life is a lonely life. Especially juggling a fulltime job, while training full time. I’m a substance abuse counselor at a youth treatment centre on a native reserve just on the outskirts of my hometown. I’ve been there for about five or six years. I have a very good relationship with my employer and he supports my career fully. I’m very blessed in that sense.

When I’m in camp I’m in my bubble. When I’m in camp getting ready for a fight, I don’t get out that much; work, home, train, work, home, train. I remember my fight in April, the first one in Cornwall, I went to run stairs at the hockey arena. There were few kids from a distance that recognized me and they asked for a picture and knew everything about my career. That’s where I got that reinforcement I needed. These kids’ eyes lit up. Sometimes we forget that people care and appreciate you. You get caught up in yourself you forget about the little things. This is what fuels me and makes me want to work that much harder.

GMs: Any final words or information about the upcoming title fight?

TL: For people out of town or those who may not be able to make the trip, Liveco Boxing will usually have a live PPV stream on their website. To our hardcore contingent fans that have supported me through and through and have been with me since day one, I am very grateful for that. For all the new fans introduced to the sport, I highly suggest you come out and check out the fight and have a good time. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

On October 14, I’m defending North American title. I’m ranked 12th in the world right now and this will get me one step closer to a world title shot. A world class event is happening in your backyard.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Henderson Alvarez leaps from Indy ball to Phillies main squad

09/18/2017 12:19 PM - Devo

After years of battling injuries and basically written off the baseball map, Henderson Alvarez has made it back to the major leagues.

Since appearing in seven games with the Long Island Ducks, totaling 32 innings, it appeared Alvarez was getting back into the groove after not appearing in a big league game since 2015 or building up any substantial minor league time either.

Alvarez went 2-1 striking out 13 and posted a 3.09 ERA, which was good enough for the Phillies who sent him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where played some of his best baseball in years.

The sample size is small (three games), but Alvarez has always had great stuff and he proved it once again. In 19 total innings he struck out eight, walked six and orchestrated a 2.84 ERA. He also held opponents to a .268 batting average.

With the end of the 2017 coming to a close, and the Phillies sitting at 58 total wins, it's time to see what they have going in to 2018. At 27, there is nothing stopping him from turning into a long term solution for any club going forward. The Phils made a move with no downside, the upside could be unlimited.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here
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