Mottola: 'Steroids got out of control'

Originally Published: March 30, 2005
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Chad Mottola was 6 feet, 3 inches and 220 pounds of pure physical specimen when the Cincinnati Reds selected him out of the University of Central Florida with the fifth overall choice in the 1992 amateur draft. One pick later, the New York Yankees chose Michigan high school shortstop Derek Jeter.

Former Reds scouting director Julian Mock, a man with a flair for southern-fried colloquialisms, could barely contain his enthusiasm over Mottola. "That boy is so big," Mock said, "he could hunt bear with a switch."

Chad Mottola
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesWelcome to the Show? Time is running out on Chad Mottola.
Thirteen years and eight organizations later, the old Dale Murphy comparisons are a fading memory. Mottola has amassed all but 109 of his 5,443 professional at-bats in the minor leagues, in places like Chattanooga, Indianapolis and Charlotte. His swing is too long, the scouts say, and suddenly he looks up and he's 33 years old and playing a spring game on a cloverleaf back field where rickety metal bleachers pass for stands.

Through numerous setbacks and several bouts of soul-searching, Mottola has refrained from using steroids to help him achieve his goal of making the majors. But he's seen numerous teammates and opponents succumb to the temptation. And while he loves the game enough to keep playing, he admits to frustration over seeing some players reach the big leagues chemically enhanced while he continues to plug away in the minors, unjuiced.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer