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Marty Cordova sets record straight on tanning bed incident

Sometimes you can’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. Or at least a salacious or nefarious story.

One of the revelations in an upcoming seven-part ESPN documentary called “The Captain” will be Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter refuting that he sent romantic dalliances away from his bachelor pad with swag bags of his autographed memorabilia.

Closer to home, Marty Cordova has set the record straight about missing a game when he was the Baltimore Orioles in 2002 because of reportedly suffering facial burns when he fell asleep in a tanning booth.

“I’ve got a super-thick skin and that season proved that,” said the former Bishop Gorman standout and 1995 American League Rookie of the Year during the Geary, Stein and Stevens Show available through YouTube and other social media platforms.

He also had a thick beard. Which is how the tanning booth story, for which Cordova was ridiculed, got started.

The burns — “it looked like cigars had been put out on my face,” the 2016 Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame inductee said on the podcast — were the result of a plastic surgeon in Las Vegas removing ingrown hairs with a laser beam.

Cordova said he didn’t want to hurt the plastic surgeon’s business so he decided not to talk about the burns.

“People said it was a tanning bed … that story just went, and once it started there was no way to stop it,” said the outfielder who compiled a lifetime batting average of .274 over nine seasons with the Twins, Blue Jays, Guardians and Orioles.

Especially after Jim Rome got wind of it and shared it with listeners on his coast-to-coast radio show.

As Cordova explained, if he actually was burned in a tanning bed, why was the damage limited to his neck and face?

“But the more you deny things, the more people think it’s true,” said the Las Vegan who recently turned 53 and appears fit enough to still be shagging major league fly balls. “Jim Rome was relentless.”

Cordova said 20 years later, the tanning bed folklore seems a trivial part of his life.

There are times when it helps to have a thick skin, he said.

Around the horn

— Despite being born without legs, Dave Stevens, the principal host of the show on which Cordova cleared up the tanning bed story, played baseball, football and wrestled at NCAA Division III Augsburg University in Minnesota.

He also had a guest stint with the independent St. Paul Saints, where he formed a bond with former MLB star Darryl Strawberry, who played for the Saints in 1996. Stevens is one of the few players to pinch-hit for Strawberry in a professional game.

— Speaking of disabled athletes who inspire, Daniel McCarty has finished his second season as a baseball assistant coach at Wilmington College in Ohio and recently was named College Assistant Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball Magazine.

McCarty, 19, was born with Osteongenesis Imperfecta — brittle bone disease. Despite being 3 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing 42 pounds and confined to a wheelchair, he played baseball in the Las Vegas Miracle League. He coaches catchers at Wilmington and also is a recruiter for Quakers coach Tony Vittorio, who spent 18 years as head coach at Dayton.

— The Western Athletic Conference will begin seeding teams for its postseason basketball tournament at the Orleans based on a computer formula designed by analytics expert Ken Pomeroy instead of won-loss record during the regular season.

The WAC, of course, is being ridiculed on social media by those who still care about the WAC for making this decision. But the hope is that by beefing up nonconference schedules, a factor in Pomeroy’s rankings, the conference’s NCAA Tournament representative also will improve its power rating and enhance its seeding potential.

The WAC is coming off a successful season in which its champion, New Mexico State, upset Connecticut as a 12th-seed in the NCAA first round.


— Not sure if ESPN would file this betting story under Bad Beats, but here’s the headline from a story reported Monday:

“Fake Indian Premier League dupes Russian bettors with staged cricket matches.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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