Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz have been linked since they came up together in the Seattle Mariners farm system together in the early 90’s. Though Ortiz would eventually be traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1997, the two should-be Hall of Famers would continue to be serendipitously connected throughout their careers in the big leagues.
In 2004, their paths crossed again through one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports. Big Papi was coming into his own as a centerpiece for the Boston Red Sox, while A-Rod had just been traded to the Yankees in his prime.
Despite being bitter rivals on the diamond for over a decade, the pair maintained a good relationship off the field. ARod has spoken about Ortiz giving him advice on hitting during their careers. However, their relationship wasn’t always peachy: after A-Rod’s lawyer implicated Ortiz as a PED user on ESPN Radio in January of 2014, the two legends went several years without speaking to each other, although they did eventually buried the hatchet.
Now, more than 20 years after their time with the Mariners, A-Rod and Big Papi have transitioned from the diamond to TV. The pair is now baseball’s best TV duo for Fox Sports 1’s pre- and post-game playoff coverage. It’s been a long journey to get here, but their familiarity with each other creates a chemistry that can’t be matched. They have no problem cracking jokes on each other or being unapologetic homers for their respective clubs; it’s terribly endearing.
In the studio, Rodriguez uses any moment he can to champion the Yankees–he’s still collecting checks as part of his massive contract–while tossing his World Series ring in Papi’s face. Most recently, A-Rod has been trying to catch Ortiz wearing Yankee gear, to no avail. Their back-and-forth has livened up what is usually a dull TV experience, turning the pre-game show into a must-watch. See why below.