Even after the Boston Red Sox traded Ramirez to the Florida Marlins in November 2005 in a seven-player megadeal, Ramirez remained a close friend with his fellow Dominican.
And there was that epic 2010 Home Run Derby in which Ortiz bested Ramirez -- producing the famous image of Ortiz toweling off Ramirez while Ramirez took a swig from a bottle of orange Gatorade.
“Hey, take it easy, don’t get too tired, take your time, because that’s what the Home Run Derby is all about,” Ortiz advised him. Ramirez later called Ortiz “one of the best [people] I’ve ever met in my life,” and Ortiz was one of the biggest influences in Ramirez’s decision to sign a free-agent contract with the Red Sox in November 2014.
So this will be a memorable season, if for no other reason than this is Ortiz’s final rodeo. He announced in November that he will retire after this season.
“I learned a lot from David,” Ramirez said Wednesday after reporting to camp and going through his first workout. “Whatever he is, on the field, off the field. How he treats people, how he talks to people on the field. How he goes about his business every day. He’s unbelievable. David’s going to be missed in the game. I’m just looking forward to him enjoying this year and maybe he can lift that trophy before he leaves.”
It’s February. And anything seems possible.