Monday, March 21, 2005
Helton unforgiving of broadcaster Hagin for comments
ESPN.com news services
Todd Helton contacted a lawyer Sunday after learning former Colorado Rockies broadcaster Wayne Hagin suggested the All-Star first baseman used steroids in the 1990s.
"I am not going down without a fight if someone talks bad about me and lies about me," Helton told the Denver Post on Sunday. "I don't care if it was an accident or not. I am forever linked to it."
Helton, who is considering legal action, said he was angered and hurt by Hagin's comments on ESPN Radio in St. Louis on Saturday, in which the current Cardinals announcer said former Rockies manager Don Baylor told him that Helton had tried "the juice."'
"I would like to extend a hunting trip to him deep in the woods somewhere," Helton told ESPN on Sunday.
The controversy began Sunday when Hagin said: "I'm going to say something that is the absolute truth, and he will be mad at me for saying it if it gets out, but Todd Helton, a tremendously gifted baseball player, he tried it. I know he tried it because Don Baylor told me. He said to me, "I told him to get off the juice, that he was a player who didn't need that, get off it. It made him into a robot at first base defensively, and may have altered his swing.' He got off it, but he is not unlike so many athletes who have tried it because they wanted to get into that level playing field."
Hagin has since apologized and clarified his statements, telling ESPN Radio on Sunday that he "was referring to supplements, creatine, not steroids" when he said "juiced" and that there was "no way I would have said Todd was on steroids."
Helton did not seem swayed by Hagin's retraction.
"I just want to get my side of it told," he said. "He said it
was a mistake. Baylor obviously confirmed that wasn't the
conversation we had. The guy was wrong. Whether it was a blatant
lie or his facts were misunderstood, either way he did a lot of
damage to me. I'll never forgive him."
Teammates covered Helton's locker with police tape as a
practical joke with a sign reading, "This area closed pending a
search for evidence."
Rockies bench coach Jamie Quirk defended Helton.
"Anyone who has ever been around Todd Helton would know that
has never entered his mind," Quirk said.
Disputing Hagin's claim, Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla wrote Monday that Hagin repeated his story to Post reporter Mike Klis, saying, "Don Baylor told me
he suspected Todd Helton of experimenting with steroids."
Helton and Baylor have confirmed that Helton had used creatine but that the first baseman stopped after the two discussed it during Helton's rookie season.
"We discussed creatine and that was the end of the conversation," Baylor told ESPN in a statement Sunday. "Steroid use was never even a question with me in regards to Todd Helton.
"He [Hagin] has his facts wrong."
Helton, who denies using steroids and has been outspoken against them, told ESPN on Sunday that Hagin's comments have caused "a lot of damage" to Helton and his family.
"I have never done steroids ... I have never had to do them ... I don't think anybody should do steroids and its amazing that something that one guy says can cause this much havoc," Helton said.
Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said he has forwarded his
concerns to his counterpart in St. Louis, Walt Jocketty. Hagin is currently employed by the Cardinals.
"There is probably not a whole lot he can do, but I wanted to
make sure he is aware of what is going on," O'Dowd said. "And I
wanted to let him know the kind of position it has put Todd in as a
person and us as an organization."
O'Dowd said he felt bad for Hagin, but said, "I think it was
real irresponsible and I think if you asked him today he probably
feels the same way."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.