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Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Shane Spencer falls victim to hoax

By Wallace Matthews
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Former New York Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer was the victim of a hoax in which an impersonator called an Albany radio station on Monday and made steroid allegations involving the Yankees teams Spencer played on between 1998 and 2002.

A podcast of the interview, with host Mike Lindsley of ESPN Radio 104.5 The Team, remained on the station's website until nearly 6 p.m. Tuesday until it was taken down after the hoax was discovered.

By then, the content of the interview -- the bogus "Spencer'' claimed to have taken steroids as a Yankee -- had reached the Yankees clubhouse; Derek Jeter, whose name was mentioned by the hoaxster, listened to it shortly before Tuesday's game against the Angels and had Charlie Wonsowicz, the Yankees head video coordinator, call the real Shane Spencer in the clubhouse of the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League, for whom he serves as the hitting coach.

"I listened to (the interview) for about a minute and I about threw up,'' Spencer told ESPNNewYork.com by telephone Tuesday night. "I just want it out there that it wasn't me.''

Later Tuesday, Spencer provided a statement to "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM:

"In response to an interview that ESPN Radio 104.5 FM host Mike Lindsley claims to have done with me on Tuesday afternoon, I would like to set the record straight that I did not participate in any such interview.

"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.

"I am hearing about this interview from friends, family, former teammates, and fans. It is very disappointing that someone was able to go on the air as me and speak for me about these topics.

"I would like to set the record straight that the interview was not done with me and all the opinions were not mine.''

Spencer, who batted .263 with 43 home runs and 167 RBIs in five seasons with the Yankees, also vehemently denied ever using steroids.

"I try to be a positive role model,'' he said. "I never touched the stuff.''

According to Spencer, a member of three Yankees world championship teams, he and Lindsley exchanged emails over the weekend trying to set up an interview for Monday afternoon, but could never settle on a time.

Still, a man identifying himself as Shane Spencer called into the station about 1:30 p.m. Monday, and was put on the air for nearly a half-hour, during which he spun tales of drug use in baseball, and on the Yankees, during his time with the club.

"It's embarrassing,'' the real Spencer said. "It's almost like I want to drive to Yankee Stadium and apologize.''

Station officials said they were investigating who might have perpetrated the hoax.

"We just want to do the right thing by Shane Spencer,'' said Stephen Giuttari, the station's director of operations.