When you have a former Major League Baseball player on to admit steroid use, it is very, very important to make sure he's actually a former Major League Baseball player.
On Monday, ESPN Radio 104.5 in Albany had on who they thought was Shane Spencer, an outfielder who played from 1998-2004 with four different teams but is best known for hitting 10 home runs over little more than a month in his rookie season with the Yankees.
"Spencer" admitted to "dabbling" with steroids during his career. He said there was "no question" that Roger Clemens used them. He said Derek Jeter wasn't a true leader in the clubhouse. He said to "be careful with the assumption" that Jeter and Mariano Rivera never used PEDs, and "it would be extremely naive" to believe they didn't.
The radio station later pulled down the page with the interview, but we've been able to rescue it for posterity. The steroid stuff starts right at the beginning. The section on Rivera and Jeter begins around the 10-minute mark.
The interview got minor play, first popping up in Newsday, but it was Derek Jeter who first put up red flags. Jeter heard about the interview before last night's game, and had the Yankees call the real Spencer, now a hitting coach for the independent Somerset Patriots.
He was understandably confused, because he hadn't done any interviews. "I listened to [the interview] for about a minute and I about threw up."
Spencer called up the radio station and went on the air to clear his name.
"I start listening to the link and I probably didn’t get one minute into it and obviously I could tell that wasn’t me by the voice. And then I just started talking about me actually doing steroids which I was appalled and outraged and you obviously got a phone call back from me this afternoon.
"It’s just very disappointing that someone would call in and use my name and put down my former friends and, you know, pretty much are teammates that are practically my family coming up through the Yankee organization. I’m just disappointed that it even came to this."
The station apologized profusely, and released a statement.
Yesterday we ran an interview we thought was with Shane Spencer. 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...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.
Spencer said he had exchanged emails with the host over the weekend, trying to set up a time to go on the air, but nothing had been finalized. The station says it is investigating to see how this happened, and how to make sure it doesn't happen again. The real question, perhaps beyond explanation: If you're going to impersonate a professional athlete, why pick Shane Spencer?