While reassuring the public they are still “good friends who have a great deal of respect for each other,” Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein took their differences of opinion to the media this week. Tensions have escalated to the point where the once dynamic Cubs duo have agreed to settle those differences in a cage match later this month in Arizona.

The battle — dubbed “The Friendly Death Match of Two Guys Who Claim to Really Like Each Other” — will start with a passive-aggressive quote-off. Winner of the opening round will then have the option of splitting a $500 bottle of wine with his opponent or bludgeoning him with a tire iron.

“I can’t stress how much I respect Joe as a manager and more importantly as a human being,” said Epstein, “but if I hear him say one more time that he didn’t want a contract extension after last season I’m going to seriously rip his head off.”

Added Epstein: “Don’t try me bro. I know you’re all into boxing and all that but I’m from Boston. I’ve seen some shit and I’ve done some shit.”