I had the opportunity to meet up with Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez during Game 6 of the World Series in Boston. I have known Pudge for many years since his early years with the Texas Rangers, later with the Florida Marlins and his one-year experience with the NY Yankees. Pudge was as surprised as I was to see him on the Fenway field during batting practice. We hugged each other like two old friends. Though I was always a reporter and he was always the player being interviewed, we developed a professional and respectful relationship that went beyond reporter -- player. As such, I was interested to hear what he was doing since retirement from baseball. The following is that interview.
Interview with Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez
We are here at Fenway with a great baseball player, a friend that has brought a lot of pride to the entire baseball community, particularly the Puerto Rican and Latino youth who watched him play, Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez.
LS: What are you doing now that you are retired from baseball?
IR: Well I am here working with Univision, working as an analyst for TV. It is a very good job working with a group of very talented people. It's good having the opportunity to be here and see many of these players and be with them once again.
LS: So there is no such thing as "retiring?"
IR: Well yes, after playing for so many years and now being on the other side. At first it was a little difficult. I miss it. You're always going to be doing something related to baseball -- like in the media, a coach, or instructor. But I feel good spending time with the family and doing different things outside of baseball.
LS: Many catchers have moved on to be managers of baseball teams. Is that something that you would like to also do?
IR: Well, that is something that one always considers. Let's see what the time will tell. Now I'm doing what I'm doing. If the opportunity arises I will look at it and see what it is and make a decision.
LS: Iván, looking at Yadier [Molina] and seeing the great job that he has done with this young pitching staff helping to bring the team to this World Series reminds me of another catcher: yourself. I remember when you went to the Marlins and you took a young pitching staff and did the same thing. In my opinion you were both MVPs for doing what you did. What is your opinion?
IR: Well Yadier has always been a catcher who has called a good game since he came to the big leagues. He studies this game and is a good defensive and offensive catcher. When you have a catcher like this you believe a lot in him. Yes, he worked with a young pitching staff to reach this level. He has a lot to do with the team being here.
LS: Some countries are known for producing a certain quality players. Venezuela has had some great shortstops, Dominican Republic has had great pitchers. With catchers like Benito Santiago, Sandy Alomar, yourself and the Molinas, is Puerto Rico the place for catchers?
IR: I really don't know why. We have always had great catchers from way back. I guess there are not that many catchers and that is one way to make it to the majors.
LS: If I recall, you did not start out as a catcher. You started out as a pitcher, but threw the ball so hard that they switched you to catcher.
IR: (Laughing) Yes that is exactly what happened.
LS: We look forward to the day when the voting comes for the Hall of Fame for you. Have you thought about that?
IR: Those are nice things to hear. However, we still have a long way to go for that. I leave that to you guys, members of the press who decide those things. I would be looking forward to it. I just thank God for the career I have had. Now all we have to do is to wait and see.
LS: Iván on behalf of Latino Sports, thank you for your time, great seeing you again. We wish much success in your new career.
IR: Thank You.