Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello Suspended for Steroids
Toronto Blue Jays’ OF/1B Chris Colabello has been suspended 80 games for a positive PED test. Colabello had been on my mind the last few days because his brutal 2-for 29 start to the 2016 season already had him on the verge of an end, at least for the immediate future, to his Cinderella story of making it to the majors and becoming a star after years in the Independent-A Can-Am League.
Feel-good story or not, I have to say that Colabello was a great candidate to test positive for PEDs, simply because he had the most to gain by using them and the least to lose. Playing in the Can-Am League for years, probably earning at most $2,000 to $2,500 a month for a four month season, is a testament to his desire to play professional baseball and just maybe make the majors one day. Assuming that he was using PEDs for some time before he got caught, which I think is a reasonable assumption — why start using PEDs after you have finally established yourself as a major league star at age 31?– it is also reasonable to assume that PEDs helped him finally make the majors at age 29. Without the PEDs, it’s quite likely he never would have made the majors at all.
If using PEDs is reasonably the difference between whether or not a player makes the major leagues at all, then at least financially it makes a whole lot of sense to use PEDs. Even with the money Colabello will lose to his 80-game suspension, he’s surely earned a lot more money than he would have if he’d never played in the majors.
The reputational damage of a PED suspension is pretty big, but it’s not exactly uncommon now, which takes a little of the sting and stigma out of it. Also, since some players are still getting away with taking PEDs without positive tests, as we know for certain since many of the players suspended in the Bio-Genesis America affair, including most famously Alex Rodriguez, never actually tested positive for steroids, it’s easy for players in Colabello’s position to have the attitude that maybe I can get away with it, and even if I get caught sometime down the road, I’ll worry about it then.
Moreover, ARod is proof that home-town fans will be pretty forgiving if you come back from suspension and perform well on the field again, as ARod did last year.
On the subject of which players are relatively more likely candidates to get caught using PEDs in the future, I have been extremely reticent, because I don’t feel particularly comfortable publicly identifying players who haven’t yet been caught doing anything wrong. Even suggesting that one player might be more likely to be cheating relative to others is a shot at the player’s reputation, so it’s just been easier to give everybody the benefit of the doubt until they actually get caught.
It’s tough, though, because there are at least a few players I have my suspicions about, and it seems kind of weak, from the position of being a blogger, to state after the player actually gets caught, oh, I had my suspicions about him all along.
So this is what I will do. There is a certain young superstar who shall remain nameless, who I have my suspicions about simply because in so many of the photographs I have seen of him, his neck appears abnormally thick. The reason that this raises red flags with me is that long before Ryan Braun admitted to being a PED-cheat, the thickness and muscularity of his neck in the photographs of him I routinely saw just seemed out of whack. It was just too much for a professional baseball player, as opposed to an NFL lineman, and it sent my Spidey-sense a tingling, even though I gave Braun the benefit of the doubt and kept my mouth shut until his positive test was reported.
Now, I want to state for the record that I have no other reason aside from this and the fact that my unnamed player plays with an ability reminiscent of the supermen of the peak Steroids Era. That’s precious little to go on, and thus the reason I am unwilling to name names. All I can really say is that if at some point in the future this player tests positive or gets caught up in a steroid scandal, which I think is less likely to happen than the other possibility, I will not be particularly surprised.