It's a small world: Traded players meet at airport
At O'Hare, Grilli, Frieri happen to run into each other hours after Bucs-Halos deal
PITTSBURGH -- Early Saturday, Ernesto Frieri was en route from Kansas City to Pittsburgh, where he had just been dealt by the Angels. His itinerary called for a layover in Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and he felt dingy.
"I'm waiting for my next flight, so I just went to a bathroom to wash my face. First thing, I look at this guy washing his hands next to me," said Frieri, "and I thought, 'I think I know this guy.'
"I looked again, and he's looking at me and goes, 'Really? Well, I guess this is when we get to meet each other.'"
It was Jason Grilli, the fellow reliever for whom Frieri had been traded hours earlier and himself was en route from Pittsburgh to Kansas City to join the Angels.
The world might be small, but O'Hare Airport is not. That was one of the 100-plus bathrooms in the five-terminal complex.
"This is baseball. Life is crazy. That's a huge airport, and we just got traded for each other and that's how we meet," said Frieri, who had never before exchanged a word with Grilli.
They made up for it on the spot.
"I just said, 'Wish you luck over there, lot of good people, you've got a lot of good friends; make the most of it,'" Grilli recalled. "For me, it was difficult leaving good friends. That's always the hard part, and it sounded like that's what it was for him."
Frieri to Grilli: "Congratulations, you're going to a really good team. Good teammates."
"I knew who he was, but I hadn't talked to him before," Frieri said. "Kind of funny. Seems like a really nice guy."
With clean hands.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.