The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
 
Pudge Admits He Began Negotiations With Tigers As a Cruel Hoax, Then Fell In Love
Originally posted 2/2/2004

Rodriguez stands outside Detroit's Comerica Park and proclaims his true feelings about the Tigers at the top of his lungs
DETROIT - Free agent catcher and Future Hall of Famer Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who signed with the lowly Detroit Tigers this week, admitted that he originally began negotiating with the team as part of a cruel, juvenile bet with agent Scott Boras. Apparently, if Rodriguez negotiated with the Tigers for three weeks without the team catching on, he would win twenty bucks.

"I feel really bad about what I did," Rodriguez said in a press conference Saturday. "Scott and I thought it would be funny to negotiate with the Tigers as a goof. He bet me twenty bucks that I couldn't do it for three weeks without losing it, and I bet him twenty dollars that I could.

"Over the course of the negotiations, however, something unexpected happened. I started to fall in love with the Tigers."

Rodriguez said that though the Tigers -- with their all-time American League record 119 losses in 2003, their half-empty ballpark, and their young, inexperienced pitching staff -- might not look like much at first glance, when you really get to know them they've got a lot going on.

"The more I talked with the Tigers," Rodriguez said, "the more I realized that I had judged them before I even knew what I was talking about. They have a great tradition, a young pitching staff that I could really help mold for the future, they have a passionate manager in Alan Trammell, and they have tons of room under the luxury tax to use salaries to try to put together a good team. Those are things you wouldn't see unless you get to know the Tigers. Once I finally did, I realized they were what I'd been looking for my whole life."

Rodriguez then pleaded with reporters not to reveal the existence of the wager with Boras.

"If the Tigers find out," Rodriguez said, "it could really complicate things. They'd probably get mad and storm off, and I'd have to come up with some sort of grand, sweeping, 11th-hour gesture to show that my affections for them are genuine. And I'm not sure I've got that in me."

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