It is safe to come out from under the bed now, baseball fans. The stars have re-aligned. Peace again has settled over this great land.
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and Yankees star Alex Rodriguez confirmed they spoke for the first time in two years on Tuesday, a thaw in their feud over both A-Rod's admitted PED use and whether one of Rodriguez's lawyers implied Ortiz was guilty of something, too. Release the doves.
If only these other ongoing sports feuds showed signs of resolving any time soon:
Bryce Harper vs. baseball's unwritten rules
Harper told ESPN's Tim Keown baseball is "tired." Retired closer Goose Gossage, protector of the unwritten rules flame, buzzed him high and tight by countering that Harper is "a punk." Harper said he prefers the stylings of a current peer Jose Fernandez, because "Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn't care." Gossage went on the radio in New York the next day and repeated: Harper is a punk. Then Gossage added that bat-flipping Toronto slugger Jose Bautista is aggravating, too.
[School X] vs. the NCAA selection committee
The names of the snubbed schools change annually. The outrage doesn't. This time the selection committee is being ripped for not inviting 27-7 Monmouth and its imaginatively choreographed "Bench Mob" celebrations to the Big Dance. The Hawks hurt themselves with a 79-76 loss to Iona in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament final that deprived them of the MAAC's automatic March Madness bid. The committee did the rest.
Jim Harbaugh vs. everybody
Harbaugh clashed with Pete Carroll when they coached against each other in the Pac-12 and NFC West. He was quarreling with San Francisco 49ers management when he left to be head coach at his alma mater, Michigan. Since arriving in Ann Arbor, he has tweaked archrival Ohio State's coach, Urban Meyer, and dismissed the SEC's complaints about him moving Michigan's spring practices to Orlando, smack in the middle of Florida's football talent hotbed, with this rhetorical question: "Does anyone find whining to be attractive? Just curious."
Oscar Robertson vs. Stephen Curry
The blowback against Robertson was swift after the 77-year-old NBA Hall of Famer questioned how Curry's game would translate back in his day and wondered why Steph is being treated like "the greatest thing since sliced bread." Other NBA players were quick to spring to Curry's defense. And Curry? He dropped 51 points on Orlando in his next game, as if to say: "You watching, Big O?"
Tom Brady vs. Roger Goodell
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tried to suspend Brady for his alleged part in Deflategate, only to see Patriots owner Robert Kraft angrily bite back and Brady eventually beat the rap when a federal judge ruled Goodell had overstepped his powers. The NFL has since appealed, but various reports now say the league could agree to settle with Brady out of court and rein in Goodell's disciplinary powers. This has not been the best stretch of Goodell's career.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and the Great Emoji War vs. Dallas
Dallas was trying to get Jordan's signature after he verbally agreed to an $80 million deal. The Clippers were trying to keep Jordan from leaving in free agency. As the clock churned toward midnight when free agents could sign, the hysterical thing was much of the standoff played out in real time on Twitter. An emoji war erupted among players on both teams, and word leaked out that some Clippers had convened at Jordan's home and were holding him "hostage" so Mavs owner Mark Cuban couldn't get to him. The result: Jordan stayed in L.A. He now gets booed mercilessly in Dallas. Cuban was not amused.
MMA champ Nate Diaz vs. UFC president Dana White
Since Diaz choked out Irish chatterbox Conor McGregor, the UFC's biggest remaining star since Ronda Rousey lost, Diaz has been relentlessly critical about the way White's organization has treated him. Diaz took the McGregor fight on nine days' notice when another challenger backed out and says he screwed up White's perfect universe by tapping out McGregor, one of the sport's most valuable hype men. "Honest, I feel like the UFC wants to weed me the f--- out of this position," Diaz told ESPN.com.
Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins vs. coach George Karl
In the offseason, Cousins was offended because he thought Karl was pushing to trade him. With the Kings stuck at 1-7 in November, Cousins cursed out Karl in front of the team. In January, with the Kings playing .500 ball for a long stretch, there seemed to be a cease-fire. Cousins had a terrific month, and Karl lobbied for him to make the All-Star team, asking, "Is there a better center in basketball?" Last week against Cleveland, Cousins was suspended one game for berating Karl again -- the time during a timeout, and then again after the game, when he also yelled at general manager Vlade Divac. The takeaway: Cousins is the NBA's Pavarotti: His vocal cords are as strong as his game. The Kings (26-41) are going to miss the postseason for a 10th straight year, and Karl could be fired.
Houston guard James Harden vs. Lil B
We never really knew whether Spike Lee and Reggie Miller were really enemies or just kidding. The same is true of Harden and Lil B. Remember when Lil B, the Bay Area music star, put a "curse" on Harden before the Rockets played the Warriors in last year's playoffs and, sure enough, Harden struggled as Golden State took series 4-1? Well, Lil B announced he has recursed Harden for continuing to steal his "cooking" dance, promising Harden "will pay."
Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova
Williams has never said she dislikes that Sharapova has been the world's highest-earning female athlete for 11 years straight years despite Williams being arguably the greatest player of all time. But Williams has trounced Sharapova in 18 straight matches since 2005. And Williams did rip Sharapova in a 2013 Rolling Stone article, causing Sharapova to rip back. Still, Williams was classy when Sharapova announced two weeks ago that she had failed a drug test. But wouldn't you be sad to see a rival go when you've owned her for 11 years?
Carolina cornerback Josh Norman vs. New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.: Some critics blamed Beckham for ensuring Giants coach Tom Coughlin was pushed out by losing his cool in a Dec. 21 game against the Panthers. Beckham earned a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman, who talked a lot of pregame smack, committed two personal fouls himself and was fined $26,000 for their fiery altercations.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh was furious that Burfict injured Le'Veon Bell (ACL) in the regular season, then star receiver Antonio Brown (concussion on an illegal hit) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder injury) in their playoff game. Burfict helped lose that game by committing a penalty that put Pittsburgh in position for a game-winning field goal. Burfict was suspended for the first three games of 2016, but consider this feud "to be continued."
Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: The world's two biggest soccer stars insist they have no rivalry, but their fans say otherwise.
Derek Fisher vs. Matt Barnes: The former Knicks coach's spending time with Barnes' ex-wife led to an altercation with Barnes that might have cost Fisher respect in New York's locker room.