NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Remember Shane Spencer?
Yep, the power-hitting outfielder who burst onto the scene for the Yankees in 1998 and played for the Bronx Bombers until 2002. Oh, and for those with a good memory, he also played for the Mets in 2004.
Well he’s back in the news after being the victim of a hoax on ESPN Radio 104.5 The Team in Albany on Monday.
An imposter claiming to be Spencer called the station and admitted to taking steroids, saying, “I have used steroids in the past … Did I ever see anyone using them? Absolutely … Here’s the one thing I would say, is that most people did not use steroids in a public forum. Most people didn’t make it — it wasn’t like you would walk into the Yankees’ locker room or any other team I played for and people were just using steroids or people would be openly talking about it.”
The audio of the interview was posted on the station’s website until nearly 6 p.m. on Tuesday before it was taken down, according to ESPN.
The 41-year-old joined WFAN co-hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on Wednesday morning to give his side of the story.
“At first I questioned (the radio station),” Spencer told Boomer & Carton. “Well it has to be somebody on your side, because how would they even know to call in right then? And then (the station) kind of made it clear to me that (the host) had been prepping it and that somebody had just called in and they said, ‘Oh,’ and it was like last second. And I said, ‘Well obviously it wasn’t my number, and I wasn’t there and I just told you I couldn’t do it.'”
Once nicknamed “Roy Hobbs” in reference to “The Natural,” Spencer denied ever using steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.
“Absolutely not,” he told Boomer & Carton. “No, maybe I’d still be playing. No, I don’t know. I never did. I spent so many years in the minor leagues and then finally … No, I had a decent career and my body just started giving out on me … I took pride in just doing everything on my own.”
Spencer, now the hitting coach and third-base coach for the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, released a statement on Tuesday acknowledging that it wasn’t his voice on the air.
“In response to an interview that ESPN Radio 104.5 FM host Mike Lindsley claims to have done with me on (Monday) afternoon, I would like to set the record straight that I did not participate in any such interview,” Spencer said in the statement. “Someone called into the station claiming to be me and spoke on my behalf regarding some very sensitive topics surrounding baseball.
“This caller spoke as me about topics ranging from steroids, to my time with the New York Yankees, Roger Clemens and my feelings about the great Mariano Rivera. I am outraged that someone would do this and at the same time disappointed that the station believed it to be me despite not coming from the contact information they had for me.”
The station released a statement of its own on its website on Tuesday.
“Yesterday we ran an interview we thought was with Shane Spencer,” the station said. “Unfortunately, after the interview was aired, we learned that the interview was with an imposter. During the interview, the Spencer imposter said that he used performance-enhancing drugs and accused other players of doing the same while pretending to be Spencer. The real interview was scheduled to take place in advance and was set up through the official Major League Baseball Players Association.
“The real Shane Spencer agreed to come on the air and conduct an interview setting the record straight. We here at 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio thank Shane for coming on the air and clarifying this unfortunate situation. We, along with Shane, share the opinion that such criminal actions are not funny, have no sense of purpose, are bad for the individuals involved and are bad for baseball as well as radio in general.”
Following the incident, the three-time World Series champion told Lindsley, “It’s unfortunate, you know, it’s embarrassing. It really is embarrassing. Not only am I very upset that my name is out there because I am here working in New Jersey. I do a lot of stuff at Yankee Stadium, I work with kids, I’m a good role model and to see how this might affect me is very disappointing and I’m going to make sure that I clear my name out.”
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