Not long ago, two Cuban ballplayers, both considered among the best to ever suit up for the country's national team, met late one night after a game to talk about their escape and life in the United States.

The rendezvous had been planned for months. The location wasn't finalized until hours before it took place and it almost didn't happen at all.

They discussed their family and their future during the hourlong chat. They laughed. They talked about Cuba -- the good and the bad. Sometimes, they frowned. They mentioned baseball only in passing.

It was August in Chicago -- not Holguin or Campechuela, Cuba -- and Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman were feeling at home in the lobby of a swanky hotel. Fortuitous scheduling had put the one-time teammates and longtime friends in the same room for the first time in 3 ½ years and the buddies were not going to let an opportunity to catch up pass them by. They didn't know when it was going to happen again.

"It made me so happy to see him again," Cespedes said in Spanish. "It feels good to have someone who understands where you are coming from. Aroldis is an old friend. It was very nice to see him."