Friday, October 16, 2009
Has anyone checked to see if Papelbon is still breathing? I can’t close my eyes without seeing the stricken look on his face after Sunday’s game.
Until recently, Papelbon was invincible. Post-season jitters? No. The other team had post-season jitters when Papelbon was on the mound, knowing that he would strike them out with the force of a thousand angry gods! He would smite them with his four-seam! Embarrass them with his curve ball!
It was all quite remarkable.
Now I just feel bad for the poor guy. After years of epic outings, Sox fans have left him for dead.
“Oh, that’s it. It’s just like Rivera in ’04.”
“Yep. Papelbon just doesn’t have it anymore! He’s done.”
Folks, let’s be realistic. Papelbon has great stats as a closer. (No, I’m not getting into those here. My eyes start to bleed when I stare at statistics, remember?) But now, after just one loss, albeit an important one, we’re discounting everything that he’s done for the Sox. People! Papelbon is a household name! Why do you think that is? It’s certainly not because he’s throwing grapefruits across the plate at 40 mph.
When you say Papelbon in New England, the word doesn’t need to be followed by “the closer for the Red Sox.” Everyone knows who the man is. More people know who Papelbon is than who the mayor of Boston is, and no one knows who the mayor of Worcester is, unless they live in Worcester, and even then, the odds are 50-50. Further, you Massholes, when you say Papelbon across the nation, it doesn’t need to be followed up by “the closer for the Boston Red Sox” 80 percent of the time. Everyone from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Cape Wrangell, Alaska has heard of Johnathan Papelbon. Maybe he has not won the Nobel Peace Prize, but the man has almost as much name recognition as Barack Obama. Seriously.
He’ll be hard enough on himself this winter without Boston goons analyzing his every move. Have none of you ever met a real athlete?! They do more self-analysis than me and my shrink. They do more guilt than a Jewish grandmother. They re-watch the game footage, they practice non-stop on perfecting their motions. They relive their defeats every night. Sure, he’ll let it go… mostly. But we all know that Jonathan Papelbon is never going to forget that horrible, awful, dreadful (I’m getting carried away) outing when he single-handedly knocked the Red Sox out of the ALCS!
Right… sorry about that.
Like most of you, I’m still not over the loss. In fact, I remember thinking I could seek comfort in watching the Pats win, but that didn’t happen either. Then, I thought I could for sure count on a Bruins win on Columbus Day! It’s been a famine around here lately.
Forget Papelbon, but just swing by and make sure I’m still alive in a few days, OK?
Samantha Lewis is the author of "Hit Like a Girl". She is the Creative Director of Northshore Editorial in Salem, MA and can be followed on Twitter