Amid allegations of rampant steroid use among members of the late-1980s/early-1990s Oakland Athletics -- including ex-A's and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire -- former Redbirds and A's center fielder Willie McGee has issued a blanket denial concerning his own steroid use.
In an exclusive interview with Unreal, the string bean-like McGee says the five pounds of bulk he added to his six-foot-one, 175-pound frame between 1982 and 1999 were the product of "a Milky Way fetish," and not steroids. "I used to keep a box of Milky Ways in my fridge at home," McGee explains. "I'd eat one after each loss, for cold comfort. If we won I'd have a glass of sparkling wine and a single Mike & Ike -- which in retrospect I guess might have helped pack the pounds on, too."
McGee credits the candy consumption for his power surge of 1987 with the Cardinals, when he slugged a career-high eleven home runs.
McGee's announcement, which comes on the heels of ex-big leaguer Jose Canseco's incendiary tell-all Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, strikes Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig as honorable -- and peculiar.
"This is exactly the sort of candor on the topic we'd like to have from every player, past and present," said Selig. "But I'm not sure Willie's really under the microscope here. I think the last time I saw him I was able to encircle his entire right bicep with my index finger and thumb. The man is skinny. Not just normal skinny -- we're talking Olsen Twin skinny."
Asked why he chose to come clean when no one has accused him of steroid abuse, McGee pointed to the years 1985 through 1987 as three roller-coaster seasons in which somebody could easily finger him as "Willie McRoids."
In 1985 McGee was named the National League's Most Valuable Player after hitting .353 with 10 home runs, 82 runs batted in and 56 stolen bases. The following season his numbers dropped dramatically (.256, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 19 SB). Then in 1987 McGee suddenly regained his power stroke, swatting 11 dingers to go with 105 RBI -- the only time he eclipsed the century mark for runs batted in.
"I just don't want anyone to look at those seasons and cast me in the same light as Brady Anderson," says McGee, referring to the former Baltimore Orioles outfielder who came under suspicion when he whacked 50 home runs in 1996 after never having hit more than 21. "What I accomplished, I accomplished naturally. Wasn't no juice in my caboose."
McGee was briefly a teammate of McGwire in Oakland in 1990 (Jose Canseco was also on that Athletics roster) and again with the Cardinals in 1998 and 1999, when McGwire slugged 70 and 65 homers, respectively. McGee totaled 3 and 0 home runs in those two campaigns, then promptly retired.
Jillian Grace of Washington, Missouri, is Playboy's Playmate of the Month for March. The nineteen-year-old blonde got the gig via an appearance on Howard Stern's radio show. For her services, she received the going rate: $25,000.
UNICOM*ARC is a private consulting group embarking on a six-month, $60,000 agreement to help the St. Louis Public Schools address their "communications responsibilities." The company got the gig by beating out a half-dozen other bids.
Imagine Unreal's surprise when we received invitations to meet with these two local players on the very same day! Grace would appear at World News in Clayton; UNICOM*ARC had scheduled a focus group downtown. After speaking to Grace and to UNICOM*ARC president Rod Wright, Unreal came to the realization that whether you're talking flesh or flacks, there's a whole lotta airbrushing going around here.
Unreal: How do you justify your fee?
Jillian Grace: I stand for what Hef has really tried to make the magazine look for: I'm the girl next door. I'm small-town. A lot of people can relate to me, I think, and that's what makes me so approachable as a Playmate.
Rod Wright: What we're doing is a complete communications audit figuring out what the schools do and don't do in terms of communications, from a Monday memo that may go home from an elementary school principal all the way up to press releases. Compared to districts that are even half its size, St. Louis city doesn't do much in the way of communications right now.
How will you help students do better in school?
Grace: I think that I'm an inspiration for them to actually go for their dreams, and they won't be discouraged when people say, "Oh, you wanna be a baseball player? You can't do that." So hopefully they'll finish out school and just try and work hard on their dreams as well.
Wright: That's a really complicated question. Ultimately that's what everything the district's doing ought to do. I think most people would argue that when the community's informed about its school district, it has the ultimate impact of helping the schools, through volunteerism and other kinds of things.
Isn't it possible that your efforts might amount to little more than a big distraction?
Melissa Gorski [Playboy publicist, who has been monitoring this conversation]: No one under eighteen is supposed to be looking at Playboy magazine!
Wright: I hope not. Right now the nature of the city schools is that it's hard to take any step forward without being criticized. I would hope that those people who are criticizing the schools for not engaging in good communications would understand that this is an effort to try to change that.
Local Blog o' the Week
"Starring Mae Midwest As Herself"
Author: Mae Midwest
About the blogger: "I'm a thirty something year old professional actress and voice over talent. I get paid to read out loud for a living. It's ok to envy me now. My cast of characters includes: Matt, who is my darling computer geek husband. Marge in Charge is my 72 year old mother and like Dick Clark, she is aging backwards. Narnia is my adorable baby daughter. Narnia was conceived after four years of infertility struggle at the Infertility Institute of St. Louis."
Recent Highlight (February 14, 2005): Saturday night, we had an anti romance party in celebration of the waste of calendar space that is Valentine's Day.
When guests arrived they were either given or had to fill out anti romantic name tags. Examples: Your opinion doesn't matter, I will never sleep with you, I'm horny, (worn by Dock Slop Jack) You suck, You stink, I hate you, and, I have VD.
Casa Christy was one of the guests. She often blogs about hanging out at one of her favorite St. Louis bars. In the past, Casa Christy has had "strong words" online with the legendary Beautiful Freak and her husband, Anger is a Gift. Great nicknames, yeah?
Christy arrives at the party, and tells us that someone called her favorite bar and asked what she liked to drink. They said they'd be at a party with her that evening and wanted to know what Christy preferred. Christy had no idea who would do such a thing. That's when Beautiful Freak presented her with a wrapped bottle of Jack Daniels and Diet Coke as a peace offering. See, online disputes can be resolved with a little understanding and some booze.
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