NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Red Sox and Yankees are set to kick off a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

No, the fierce rivalry is not exactly what it used to be. The Bombers (40-37) are three games behind the first-place Blue Jays, and the defending Word Series champions (36-43) are eight games out.

Not exactly the powerhouses they once were.

But David Ortiz and Derek Jeter are still going at it, and then there’s that whole Jacoby Ellsbury angle.

Big Papi joined WFAN co-hosts Marc Malusis and Kim Jones in the studio on Friday morning to talk Mariano Rivera — who he considers a big brother — his charity work and all things baseball.

And while many Yankees fans despise the designated hitter, the nine-time All-Star told the co-hosts that he has a ton of respect for Yankee Nation.

“I totally understand that when you take the field, (and you) play for the Red Sox and are competing against the Yankees, you definitely — as a Yankees fan — are gonna boo a Red Sox player,” the three-time World Series champion told Malusis and Jones. “But I can tell you one thing. Yankees fans have shown me a lot of respect here, and I always take that as pride. I’ve always seen that from the fans here.

“I understand the fact that they don’t want to see you (succeed). You’re competing against their team … I have a lot of Yankees fans coming to me and saying, ‘Hey, look, I’ll be honest with you. I’m a Yankees fan, but I respect you.’ And that’s something that means a lot to me.”

Ortiz is batting .256 with 18 homers and 49 RBIs this season.

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