David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia say they don’t talk about their relationship, but short of heading down the street from Fenway Park and buying best friend bracelets, they’ve done everything else to show how close they are.
Ortiz and Pedroia took a break from their laser focus on the next task at hand, the American League Championship Series, to talk with Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe about what makes the respect between the team’s two biggest leaders so strong. It starts, they said, with not even having to discuss it.
“We don’t talk about our relationship,” Pedroia said. “This is our job, and we’re both trying to win games.”
The second baseman still had praise, though, for Ortiz, with whom Pedroia has played his entire big league career.
“We’ve played together for a long time, and we’ve gone through so much together, a lot of ups and downs,” Pedroia said. “He knows we have each other’s back.”
Ortiz was more effusive.
“That guy is one of the best teammates you can have,” Ortiz said. “I’ve never seen anybody like him before and I never will. He shows up the same way every day. There are no excuses. There are [no] doubts about him. When I go back to my country, I get questions about that guy every day. I tell them the truth, he’s a trouper and he’s a great teammate.
“It has been a good friendship. … That guy, he’s like my brother. We’re family.”
Pedroia said that what he appreciates most about Ortiz is how he works hard, which fits both players’ style of leading by example. He talked about Ortiz always working on hitting or watching video, and how other players feed off that. He also praised Ortiz’s intelligence, saying he has a game plan and has taught other players, including Pedroia, how to approach pitchers.
Ortiz, on the other hand, praised Pedroia for knowing when to intervene. He said the two players usually go their own way, but Pedroia will get involved if he has to — like when Ortiz demolished a dugout phone earlier this season in a fit of passion.
“He got mad at me that day. But he knows how to settle me down,” Ortiz said. “… When things get out of control and we have to say something to each other, we do it.”
Manager John Farrell was also liberal with his praise in the piece, saying Ortiz and Pedroia lead by example and know that new players are looking to them for guidance. He says their willingness to have fun but also speak when needed has kept the team accountable.
It also can’t hurt that they think so highly of each other.
“Nobody brings more to the table for us than he does,” Ortiz said of Pedroia. “I always say that. We’re not the same team without that guy.”