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 . . .

Alex Rodriguez
In order to appease the MLBPA, A-Rod announced that he has agreed to buy them Haiti and a country to be named later.
10 p.m.: Scott Boras restarts negotiations by saying that A-Rod is willing to restructure his 10-year, $252 million contract. But, he says, a man still must be fairly compensated. So he demands a special $2 "A-Rod'' tax added to all "Yankees suck'' t-shirts sold within Boston's city limits. "That's do-able,'' Boras says. "Most Red Sox fans already have three of these shirts, so they're only looking at paying the tax four more times before they have a complete set for the week.''

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.

Manny Ramirez
Manny refuses to have the clause removed from his contract that allows him to take naps on the bases.
12:21 a.m.: Manny says that if the Red Sox won't trade him to the Yankees, he'll go to the Rangers only if he gets his own table on permanent reservation at the Dallas Ritz-Carlton for when Enrique Wilson and the Yankees come to town.

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!''

"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.

Bud Selig
"Dude, I'll trade you A-Rod for Pete Rose."
2:20 a.m.: Nomar calls in again to say that he would like a pitcher of daiquris and a pizza with everything, then tells them to ignore him. "Never mind. Mia was trying to call room service and she called you guys instead.''

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.





HOSTAGE NEGOTIATIONS

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