The scandal nearly harpooned the baseball program. After 17 years there, Collazo resigned. The players paid homage by hanging his number 42 jersey in the Hurricanes dugout.

"It was maybe as easy as getting marijuana," he says of steroids.

His next gig, as head coach of Miami's Gulliver baseball team, imploded the next year in even queasier fashion: He used a motivating tactic he was famous for, now with kids who were far too young. In the locker room after a loss, he whipped out his genitals in front of the high school team. He angrily wondered, according to a police report, if they "had a set of these or were equipped with a vagina." After resigning again, he ended up working with his cousin, an uncertified baseball agent in Miami.

Still a ubiquitous figure in South Florida youth ball, Collazo maintained relationships with UM stars, and Bosch maintained a relationship with him. He appears more than a dozen times in Bosch's notebooks, which indicate the steroid peddler also treated Collazo's baseball-playing sons for $60 a week.

Former Canes star and current major-leaguer Gaby Sanchez was suspended for failing a drug test at UM, ex-teammates say.
Blackngold29 via Wikipedia Commons
Former Canes star and current major-leaguer Gaby Sanchez was suspended for failing a drug test at UM, ex-teammates say.
UM's baseball field, where Alfonso "Flaco" Otero ran baseball camps for more than 20 years. He alleges "drug testing was a joke."
Photo by Tim Elfrink
UM's baseball field, where Alfonso "Flaco" Otero ran baseball camps for more than 20 years. He alleges "drug testing was a joke."

Collazo trained young kids who had raw ability and no money just because he saw a glimmer of talent. That's why he had taken a prepubescent pitcher named Israel Chirino under his wing and become like a "father figure" to the kid, according to Kevin Santiago, who was Chirino's college roommate. And then, when Chirino went to UM and was drafted by the White Sox, he soon ended up in Tony Bosch's records.

In one note dated September 2011, Bosch writes, "Lazer: Re: Meeting with Gaby Sanchez." The future major-league first baseman, whose own PED problems in college have not been reported until now, was one of at least 11 UM players, coaches, and trainers whose names ultimately showed up in Bosch's notebooks.


The 2004 and 2005 Hurricanes baseball squads were two of the most talented teams in the school's storied hardball history. Those rosters included eight future major-leaguers, ­including one — Ryan Braun — who went on to win a National League MVP award. Gaby Sanchez slammed homers, center fielder Jon Jay was a menace on the bases, and preternaturally talented relief pitcher Chris Perez threw 90 mph fastballs.

But beyond the bright lights at the stadium, some players also brought the program trouble. Five key players were suspended and expelled, including two stars who several sources say were banned for a full season for testing positive for PEDs. The teams never snagged the College World Series title for which they seemed destined.

In on-the-record interviews, two players said that steroids were a known problem on the team, that PED tests posed little deterrence, and that if Jim Morris and other coaches showed any concern, it was only because the issue might boil over and destroy the baseball program. Little had apparently changed five years later, when a UM player made similar claims to an MLB investigator.

In March 2004, the team had steamed to 18 wins in 22 games when suddenly the veteran set-up man, Shawn Valdes-Fauli, was dismissed and starter Brandon Camardese was suspended. UM is a private school, under no obligation to reveal the reasoning behind player discipline. Jim Morris was tight-lipped, and with no information one newspaper columnist congratulated the coach on his apparent sternness. "He could have indulged the player misbehavior for the sake of bringing a better overall team into the playoffs," wrote a Miami Herald scribe. "Instead, he did right. The coach taught."

A little more than a month later came another suspension, this time of one of the best pitchers in Hurricanes history. Morris suspended closer George Huguet, along with his otherworldly 0.39 ERA, for "violating team policy," fresh off setting a new team record for saves. Though Morris again wouldn't dish, Huguet's teammates knew he had drug issues — and not of the steroid variety. "He had 'Ricky Williams syndrome,' " says one former high school player who was friends with many on the UM team that year. Weed was his vice, he claims. Huguet never played another game for the Canes, and within a few years his life had spiraled far off course: Once destined for Major League Baseball, instead he — along with another former-athlete friend who sold AK-47s on Facebook — was busted for selling cocaine to an undercover cop in Hialeah.

Amid the turmoil, the 2004 Hurricanes made it to the second round of the World Series, buoyed by pitcher Cesar Carrillo's undefeated 12-0 record.

The summer following that season, Braun, Sanchez, and Carrillo all played for the collegiate Cape Cod League, on a team called the Brewster Whitecaps. Braun struggled all summer and ultimately left early, but what his Brewster teammates remember is the 21-year-old kid bragging about his close relationship with 30-year-old superstar Alex Rodriguez. "He said him and Alex worked out together in Miami some when Alex came into town," says Steve Tolleson, who went on to play for two major-league teams. Another teammate remembers Braun ostentatiously talking to Rodriguez on the phone during a bus trip. And a third, outfielder Ryan Patterson, says most Brewster teammates found Braun's constant showboating about his famous friend to be annoying. "It bothered a few of the guys," Patterson says. "It was 'Alex has this car, and did this with me,' and the guys were like 'OK, can we play some baseball?' "

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7 comments
glennayamamoto
glennayamamoto

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jaimeejackson
jaimeejackson


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johnjsimpkins
johnjsimpkins topcommenter


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flasporty
flasporty

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theodorecbonk
theodorecbonk

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