If you ever wondered why baseball players and pundits looked at Jose Bautista’s incredible career turnaround in 2010 and thought, “Surely this guy has to be taking drugs,” you need look no further than baseball's newest cheat, Chris Colabello.

For every player out there who “figures it out” and unlocks their latent potential, you’ll have one who creates latent potential through performance-enhancing substances.  Welcome to the dark side, Chris. We have cookies - and they are laced with Turinabol.

Though I’m not ready to play judge, jury, and executioner to Colabello just yet, I can’t deny the grim reality of his situation: Getting tangled up in PEDs could signal the death knell of his career.

Colabello earned the respect and admiration of every big leaguer and amateur baseball player when, after toiling for seven seasons in Independent League baseball and having lacklustre results during parts of two seasons with the Minnesota Twins, he fought his way into one of the best lineups in baseball. He didn’t just warm the bench for the Jays, he outhit some of the best names in the game, like Troy Tulowitzki.

It’s an incredible story, but that’s what makes this new revelation all the more damning.

Colabello’s positive test isn’t just bad for him now, bad for his teammates, and bad for the Blue Jays. It’s bad for his history, as this positive test puts everything under suspicion. His 2015 production put him on the map as a legitimate big-league bat and quality defensive first basemen. However, couple this positive test with a .069 batting average and you have a bold neon sign blinking, “It WAS too good to be true.”

“I’m disappointed it happened, but I’ve got a special bond with the kid, you know. I was his manager when he kind of made it ... This hurts me just like it hurts him. He’s beloved out there in that clubhouse,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “I love the guy. He’s fought the odds his whole life. He’ll fight this.”

Note the words, “kind of made it.” That’s because one good partial season isn’t really making it. So far, his encore season has been more “kind of” than “made it.”

Yet, if Colabello is clean and this really was an accident, then he’d better fight the results will all his might. He’d better rain fire and brimstone down on supplement companies. There is no fat contract the Blue Jays have to honour. No media frenzy keeping his name alive. No history of league-leading results to point back at. If he doesn’t find a way to clear his name, his feel-good story will become a story no one remembers.

Meanwhile, as lawyers and private testing agencies look into what nefarious consumable secretly infiltrated Colabello’s diet, Colabello will have to address the middle part of Gibbons’ statement: He’s beloved in that clubhouse.

At least he was. Some of his teammates may say they feel Colabello’s pain. They may even contend that he’s a quality guy, incapable of such an evil baseball deed. There will be others who hate his guts on principle alone.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick wrote: “I recently talked to a Blue Jays official who said Colabello elicited respect from ‘everyone in the organization’ for his professionalism and uplifting back story.”

Those who love Colabello will say it doesn’t add up because he is “a man of integrity.” Let’s be honest: Baseball wouldn’t know a man of integrity if he rode in on a white stallion, healed the sick and fed the poor, and turned water into Gatorade.

For baseball, as long as you don’t make an ass of yourself with salacious media quotes, don’t celebrate too emphatically when you hit a home run and refrain from doing drugs, guess what: You are, in fact, a man of integrity. And if you are seen as a jerk, who cares? It doesn’t make you a cheater. There are lots of jerks in the game who don’t cheat.

Being thought of as a good guy in baseball is not exactly a vote of confidence, or innocence. After all, Ryan Braun was once a man of integrity. The Yankees thought A-Rod was (briefly, very briefly) a man of integrity. Mark McGwire was a man of integrity. Need I go on?

Colabello’s insistence that he loves the game too much to ever disrespect it through PED use is the kind of ridiculous, PR-manufactured nonsense that makes this former player’s eyes roll right out of his head.

If you did drugs, just say you did it. If you didn’t, just say you know what it means and it sucks and you’re mad and you’re really sorry - but please, don’t tell me how much you love the game; it makes it really hard to take you seriously.

And, for the record, being taken seriously is going to be a challenge for Colabello for a long time. This will hang over him for the rest of his career, and maybe his life. Instead of admiring him for his accomplishments, players will now look at Colabello as a thief. They’ll wonder when he started cheating them out of playing time and stealing their opportunities. How much suffering in the minors did they have to endure because he stole their promotion? I’m glad you love the game, but how does that excuse any of this?

I’d like to take Colabello’s word on it. After all, there is an argument to be made that he was not cheating. Turinabol has been around nearly a century. It’s not the sexy, cutting-edge drug that beats the system. It’s practically steroid version 1.0. You’d have to be incredibly ballsy or incredibly stupid to put it in your system willingly.

I hate to say it, but here’s hoping that Chris Colabello is incredibly stupid.