|A-Rod hostage negotiations|
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
After the players union vetoed the bizarre A-Rod/Manny/Nomah trade Wednesday on the grounds that it violates the basic agreement, Rangers owner Tom Hicks said the Red Sox and Texas have until 6 p.m. today to work out the deal.
Can they get it done? It won't be easy because there were a lot of demands on the table last night . . .
10:15 p.m.: Negotiations take a turn for the worse when former Rangers minority owner George Bush says the Red Sox are not eligible for a share of the Rangers' rebuilding contracts.
10:21 p.m.: Gene Orza says the union won't participate in the negotiations unless he gets to sit at the head of the table.
11:03 p.m.: Manny wakes up to say that he would rather be traded to the Yankees.
11:17 p.m.: Nomar phones from his honeymoon to say that he doesn't care which team the Red Sox trade him to, but he insists on being given his own clubhouse spider hole where he can crawl in and hide from reporters and booster clubs.
11:23 p.m.: Roger Clemens calls in unexpectedly to reiterate that he won't come out of retirement to play for the Rangers. But, he says, "if anyone is giving away free luxury SUVs, count me in.''
11:29 p.m.: Boras also points out that a $252 million player must be protected at all times. So he insists that Paul Williams, the feisty groundskeeper in the visitors bullpen, stay at A-Rod's side 24/7, especially during bench-clearing brawls, "just in case Don Zimmer gets any more funny ideas.''
11:52 p.m.: Bush appeals to the international community to forgive the Rangers' debt.
12:03 a.m.: The Rangers call up the Dodgers and ask them to take back Chan Ho Park, or at least his salary. The Red Sox counter by saying they want Ted Williams' head back.
12:39 a.m.: Nomar calls in to say he also wants unlimited anytime minutes on his cellphone so that he doesn't have to worry about being placed on hold when he phones radio talkshows.
1:16 a.m.: Boras says A-Rod also wants the Red Sox slogan changed from "Cowboy Up'' to "Putting on the Ritz.'' And he wants that karoake video of Kevin Millar singing "Born in the USA'' replaced with the one of him singing "Bohemian Rhapsody'' on his 16th birthday.
"Thunderbolt and lightning,'' A-Rod sings in falsetto, "Very, very exciting.''
"Me!'' joins in Theo Epstein. "Galileo!''
Everyone joins in. "Galileo, Figaro, magnifico!''
1:33 a.m.: Commissioner Bud Selig says he will approve A-Rod's contract being restructured as long as the payments are deferred to the Brewers.
1:47 a.m.: Famished, everyone breaks and tries to order pizza from Domino's. This, too, breaks down when Selig points out that they should order from Little Caesar's instead, to help out "My good friend, Mike Ilitch,'' while A-Rod insists on having half the pizza covered in anchovies, Boras insists on having them order an additonal large pizza "just in case'' and Orza says he won't approve any pizza order because he is lactose intolerant and can't have cheese.
1:52 a.m.: Manny asks someone to explain how the BCS system works and how come USC won't be playing for the national championship.
3:23 a.m.: The deal is finally worked out and settled, only to fall apart when A-Rod abruptly demands that the Green Monster must be moved in 10 feet.
"And lowered by 20 feet,'' Boras adds.
"And painted light blue,'' A-Rod says.
"Really,'' Boras says, "no one will notice.''
4:17 a.m.: Talks break off for the night.
4:31 a.m.: Pedro phones, saying he just wants to know if he can finally stop pitching now.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.