The curious case of Jonathan Papelbon
Phillies closer and former Red Sox closer (and World Series champ) Jonathan Papelbon is a bit of a tough nut to crack.
He is outspoken, overpaid and pretty stingy. Pair that with his consistent play (he has 300 career saves now) and you get a character who must be acknowledged.
In two recent walk-off wins for the Phillies, the first a Ryan Howard bomb, Papelbon was seen (as pictured above) at home plate groping a fellow teammate.
And he really looks to be enjoying himself.
Check out the second photo, this one from Reid Brignac’s walk-off three-run long-ball Wednesday night. John Mayberry Jr. is his latest victim.
Papelbon is a full-grown man — he is 33 now. And he has the largest contract in the history of closing pitchers. He is on one of the three worst teams in the National League and if not for his contract he would be the subject of trade chatter.
But he is still the same guy who, in Boston, with a mohawk, said the following:
“When I’m out there pitching, it’s not Jonathan Papelbon pitching, it’s Cinco Ocho pitching. I get a little revved up some times, and Cinco Ocho doesn’t know how to control himself when he’s out there. We’ve got a good relationship going on right now with Cinco Ocho, so we’ll try and keep it that way.”
Papelbon also famously said that Phillies fans “tend to know the game a little better” than fans in Boston, who he claims are “a little bit more hysterical when it comes to the game of baseball.”
What makes Papelbon so curious, (aside from groping Phillies teammates in ecstasy after a dramatic win) is that no one really likes him.
He takes a long time to pitch and doesn’t really like the media. In fact, a group of Philadelphia journalists will swear to the fact that he farted on them during a recent interview in the Phillies’ clubhouse.
He is good at his job. He is weird, and funny — but he has very few true fans.
If the Phillies eat his salary and decide to trade him to a contender, we can only hope they can compile some walk-off wins. See that look on his face? It’s priceless!
Follow Metro Philadelphia sports editor Evan Macy on twitter @Evan_Macy.