So Long, Pudge Rodriguez

While the Mavs stare bleakly into James Harden's beard and the Cowboys kick tires ahead of Thursday's draft, the local sports world takes a minute to look longingly in reverse today, over the long, remarkable career of Pudge Rodriguez, arguably the best catcher of all time. (And what is baseball good for if not of-all-time arguability?)

Should be a nice day all around, with a lot of caught-stealings and a little bWAR and maybe the occasional "S" word. Here's the schedule of events the Rangers sent over yesterday, the key parts I'm sure you'll be able to catch at your favorite sports-radio hang:

1:00 p.m.--Texas Rangers First Base Media Gate opens

2:00 p.m.--Ivan Rodriguez Press Conference to announce his retirement as an active major league player

--The press conference will take place in the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. Please enter through the First Base Media Gate and go right towards centerfield. The Hall of Fame entrance is located in the back of the Lower Home Run Porch.

--Participants in the press conference will include Ivan Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, and Tom Grieve. Several former Rangers teammates of Rodriguez and members of the Rodriguez family will also be in attendance.

5:35 p.m.--On-field ceremony to honor Ivan Rodriguez

5:55 p.m.--Ivan Rodriguez ceremonial first pitch

6:08 p.m.--First pitch, Yankees vs. Rangers.

It's that 2 p.m. press conference where things could get interesting. Does someone ask Rodriguez about his alleged steroid use -- alleged, of course, by hammerhead-turned-sage-turned-hammerhead Jose Canseco, who wrote in his book, Juiced, that he personally injected Rodriguez?

Should someone ask about it?

On the one hand, Pudge's answer, or his non-answer, could help determine his physical place in history, if not his actual one. So far, when asked whether his name is on The List, Rordriguez has said, "Only God knows." But God doesn't have a vote, so the writers may want more, especially depending on how the upcoming Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens ballots turn out.

On the other hand: Ugh. Steroids. Ugh.

It's days like today when you wonder: What if Rodriguez could just talk openly about That Era, about how the league had been so thoroughly corrupted, how there was no other way? What if the league stood behind him, sharing the blame? What if the media all shrugged and said, Yeah, those were some weird days, where are the hot dogs?, and made Rodriguez what he deserves to be: a first-ballot, no-brainer, start-carving-the-bust-today Hall of Famer.

Pipe dreams, obviously. But worth dreaming, especially on Pudge Day.

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Joe Tone
Contact: Joe Tone