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Pudge Not Playing Because of Frances


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Rodriguez misses game because of Frances



September 6, 2004

DETROIT (AP) -- Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez stayed with his family in Florida because of Hurricane Frances, forcing him to miss Monday's game against the Kansas City Royals.


The Tigers returned from Florida on Friday after their Saturday and Sunday games against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were postponed, but Rodriguez stayed in Miami. He was traveling to Detroit on Monday and is expected to be available for Tuesday night's game.


Detroit also was without relief ace Ugueth Urbina, who is in Venezuela after the kidnapping of his mother, and third baseman Eric Munson, whose wife went into labor Monday.

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Notes: Pudge back in lineup

Catcher returns after scary encounter with Frances

By Jason Beck / MLB.com



DETROIT -- Ivan Rodriguez was back at Comerica Park on Tuesday needing three stolen bases to reach 100 for his career. His race with Hurricane Frances, however, might have been the best running of his career.

Pudge returned to Detroit on Monday night, his family and his Miami Beach home both in good shape, but he called being in the midst of the storm an "adventure." It was a harrowing enough ordeal that the man who wasn't afraid of joining a team that lost 119 games last year, admitted he was scared driving through South Florida.


It started with Friday night's win at Tampa Bay. Pudge left Tropicana Field almost immediately after the game was over and darted down Interstate 75 for Miami, where his two daughters were still at the family's oceanside home.


"I was driving fast, trying to beat the wind," he said. "When I drove to Miami, the winds started picking up exactly when I got there. I was lucky I didn't catch any wind in the Everglades when I was driving from Tampa. There was nothing, and then on the news they said not to go out because there won't be any police."


After dropping off his brother and picking up his daughters, he drove north to Fort Lauderdale to stay at a friend's home inland. They rode out the first effects of the storm Friday night and Saturday until they lost power. Because the storm had weakened somewhat and they had a generator at the Miami Beach home, they left Fort Lauderdale to go home Saturday night as the storm was coming onshore.


By then, Miami Beach had a curfew in place. No one was supposed to be on the streets, and the drive down showed Rodriguez why.



"On the way home, it was windy, and I saw a tree going down right about 100 feet from me," he said. "I was stopped at the light and I saw a tree go down right in the middle of the street. It blocked my way. I went into the other lane past the tree."


Asked whether his kids were scared as the hurricane moved through, Rodriguez was honest.


"They were scared. I was scared," he said. "When you're inside the house and you hear it outside like somebody speaking, that's how you hear when you're in the middle of a hurricane. You're in the house and you hear the wind, bad and mean. That's what we heard. The rain, lightning, it was a mess."


His home was, too, but not as badly as he had feared. Several tree branches landed in the backyard, which also took on flooding from a nearby canal before washing back out. He still has a dock, but half of it is submerged. The house is fine, as is the famous statue of himself he has in the yard.


He spent all day Monday cleaning up with neighbors before flying back to Detroit that evening. As bad as it was, he said it couldn't compare to what he saw from Hurricane Hugo in September 1989, and Georges in 1998.


He can only hope the storm that has his name on it doesn't have South Florida in its sights. Hurricane Ivan is still churning off the coast of South America and is expected to make its way into the Caribbean Sea and towards the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. At this point, Miami and the Atlantic Coast appear out of trouble.


Still, don't nickname it Hurricane Pudge. "Ivan, Ivan, Ivan," Rodriguez said.

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