… and Big Papi and A-Rod lived happily ever after?
We’ll see. But David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez took a huge step toward restoring their relationship Tuesday when they spoke for the first time in two years before the Boston Red Sox faced the New York Yankees in spring training action at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
“I spoke to him today,” Rodriguez told ESPN.com when asked whether he felt he needed to reach out to Ortiz, who plans to retire after this season. “I’m happy for him. He’s in a good place.”
Ortiz and Rodriguez had been good friends dating to their days together in the Seattle Mariners organization. Rodriguez’s lawyer made some pointed comments seemingly directed toward Ortiz while discussing steroid use in a January 2014 interview, though. And although the lawyer later suggested he wasn’t referring to Ortiz, the damage was done.
Ortiz wasn’t happy, especially given how adamant the Red Sox designated hitter has been in recent years that he’s never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. The two didn’t speak until Tuesday’s encounter, which reportedly took place at an indoor batting cage and included a brief conversation between the longtime American League East rivals.
“I love Big Papi,” Rodriguez said, according to ESPN.com. “I have a lot of respect for him. I think he’s been an incredible ambassador for the game. I’m looking forward to him leaving the game at a height — and for him to leave the game. He’s crushed us over the years.”
Ortiz told ESPN Deportes’ Marly Rivera in a Spanish-language interview before Tuesday’s interaction with Rodriguez that he was “at peace” with his relationship with the Yankees slugger. That relationship might be a bit stronger in light of the broken silence.
“I have always gotten along with everyone,” Ortiz told Rivera. “I’ve never harmed anybody, not even those who have tried to do me harm. It’s not my problem. I will always love and respect Alex, because that is who I am, that’s in my nature. I’m a big bear. I give affection to everyone.”
Big Papi and A-Rod will battle in the AL East for one more season. It seems like their war will remain on the field, as the air has been cleared and neither party seems ready to hold a grudge.
Thumbnail photo via The Star-Ledger/USA TODAY Sports Images