Now closing for the Phillies, Cinco Ocho

If someone would have told you after the 2004 season that once upon a time, elite pitchers would choose to pitch in Citizens Bank Park, you would have laughed it off as a fairy tale.
 
But it has happened again.
 
Jonathan Papelbon has followed stud starters Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee to one of baseball’s ultimate hitters parks. The market’s top free-agent closer made it clear when asked about what team was at the top of his offseason wish list.
 
“I said, ‘Listen, I want to play for the Phillies. Let’s make it happen,’” Papelbon said yesterday at his introductory press conference.
 
Philadelphia is clearly a destination for top baseball talent. Papelbon signed a four-year deal for $50 million and $58 dollars.
 
Why the extra $58 for the quirky Papelbon?
 
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Papelbon said. “You’re going to have to ask Cinco Ocho that question. I can give you his phone number if you need it.”
 
Cinco Ocho is Papelbon’s alter ego and his number in Spanish. Charlie Manuel laughed when asked about Papelbon’s lively personality.
 
“It’s fun,” Manuel said. “It’ll be good to have that in the clubhouse.”
 
The Phillies ultimately hired Papelbon for what he can do on the mound. Papelbon, who holds the Red Sox record with 219 saves, has averaged 37 saves a season with a 2.33 ERA over his seven-year career — with an extraordinary 0.93 WHIP. And Papelbon has been ridiculous during the playoffs, giving up runs in only one inning out of 27.
 
The latter is a big reason why Phils GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. went to Papelbon as opposed to retaining Ryan Madson.
 
“Ryan was one of those [closer] candidates, but Jonathan has a little more experience and has done it extraordinarly well for many years. He had success in crunch time and in the playoffs. He was the right fit for us.”
 
Papelbon, who will turn 31 next week, is three months younger and has less wear and tear on his right arm than Madson. Papelbon has never thrown 70 innings in a season, while Madson has 200 more innings on the odometer.
 
The four-time All-Star caused the Phillies, who are generally opposed to offering a contract of more than three years to a pitcher, to make an exception.
 
“Four years is a little uncomfortable,” Amaro said. “But on a player like this and a person who has this type of pedigree, this type of background, sometimes you go the extra mile to do that. With the way he takes care of himself, the way that we understand he works at his craft, we thought it was the right risk.”
 
What ultimately sold Papelbon on the Phillies was competing against them during interleague play over the last few seasons.
 
“The biggest thing about me coming here was playing against the Phillies, “ Papelbon said. “I really admire the way they play. I admire the way the grind it out. I feel like the way they play the game of baseball is the way I play the game of baseball.  I’m excited to play with them.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…