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.