Jonathan Papelbon has long been an admirer of Chad Ochocinco. Even before the outspoken wide receiver called New England his home — and searched for a home with a Patriots fan — Papelbon felt a kinship.
Not surprising, considering Papelbon’s No. 58 is Ochocinco’s inverse. As early as 2007, Papelbon mused that he wanted to be known as “Cinco Ocho,” and his propensity for outspokenness fit the part.
So it was this week that Papelbon’s alter-ego returned, and so did the bold commentary. After two somewhat shaky seasons, Papelbon is enjoying one of his finest years as Boston’s closer. His critics silenced, Cinco Ocho finally spoke up.
“Cinco Ocho loves haters,” Papelbon told MLB.com. “He loves to drink the haterade, man. That’s what Cinco Ocho fuels his engine with. I like to be told I can’t do something. Cinco Ocho needs to be told he stinks, and then he just takes the haterade and fuels his engine. That’s how he works, man.”
Papelbon, who blew eight saves last season, is 26-for-27 in save opportunities in 2011, including the last 21 in a row — a career best. In 2009 and ’10 combined, Papelbon issued 52 walks. This season, he has just eight BBs.