By: Ian Hunter
Canadian Baseball Network
Just a few weeks ago, to the shock and dismay of many, Chris Colabello was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
In the days since, Colabello hasn't denied the positive test, but he proclaims his innocence. He's still dumbfounded how something called dehydrochlormethyltestosterone got into his system; a drug which was prominently used in the East German doping scandal during the late 80's.
Colabello gave his tearful testimony and reiterated he wouldn't jeopardize his career over PED's. Many believe that he unknowingly took a banned substance, but perhaps it's indicative of a much bigger problem across Major League Baseball.
Whether we want to admit it or not, baseball players are putting more things into their body than ever before. Not necessarily banned substances, but things like supplements and pain relievers to simply make it through the grind of a 162 game schedule.
With that in mind, it's easy to see how Colabello may have "accidentally" taken something which wasn't under the guise of the Toronto Blue Jays' medical staff. Players are used to not having to think about whether a substance in the clubhouse is safe or not because it always is.
However, Colabello is no longer out on an island when it comes to players which have tested positive for Turinabol. An ESPN report via T.J. Quinn says there is at least one more player yet to be suspended for having the very same substance in their system.
For three players to test positive for the very same PED is too coincidental; Colabello suddenly isn't so innocent anymore. It's very difficult to believe that not only one, but at least three players tested positive for the same drug; one which is still shrouded in mystery, but is a banned substance nonetheless.
Most players have explained their positive tests with the same canned response: "I don't know how that drug got into my system". They proclaim their innocence but accept their respective punishments; because if there was a logical explanation, their appeals would have been accepted and the punishments either reduced or stricken from the record.
Colabello claims he passed numerous drug tests over the years, including one during the 2015 postseason. So why did he suddenly fail a drug test after passing countless tests prior with flying colours? Many point towards a recent advancement in MLB's drug testing system, which may now detect certain PED's where it wasn't able to before.
That would explain why so many players are suddenly getting nailed for PED's, because these drugs were previously undetectable in trace amounts. Players may have used drugs in the past without fear of detection. Apparently those days are long gone.
As unfortunate as it was to see a beloved Blue Jays player get busted for performance-enhancing drugs, at least we can take solace in the fact that the drug testing system is working. In fact, it's working better than it ever has, which in turn has begun to weed out players like Colabello.
In Colabello's case, the reason why it was hard to fathom he'd test positive for PED's is he was the everyman. The struggles Colabello has faced are well documented, as he had finally broken through to the Major Leagues after seven years of independent ball.
Colabello thought his career was over in 2014 after suffering a wrist injury with the Minnesota Twins. And then he finally found his place on the fateful 2015 Blue Jays team which narrowly missed a berth in the World Series.
Colabello had gone through great deal of adversity to get to where he was; surely he wouldn't risk all that by taking performance enhancing drugs. It's a genuine concept, but in this particular case, it's not a realistic one.
The fact remains that Colabello made a mistake and now he must pay the price. I don't want to say that Colabello is a martyr, but his suspension will serve as a lesson to his teammates and other players in baseball - one can never be too careful about what they put in their body; especially when their livelihood depends on it.