INTO THE SUNSET
By Bill Smith
According to an article by Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Jonathan Papelbon, pending a physical, is going to the city of Brotherly Love, where they throw things at Santa Claus. According to Mr.Abraham’s article Mr. Papelbon will receive 50 Million Dollars over four years with bells and whistles for extentions down the road. The confusion invoked by his Class A free agency has to be resolved as well. (I wonder if Curt Flood would be happy at what he started over 36 years ago). Over the last several weeks, after Chickengate broke, there have been rumblings about the mutual dissatisfaction between him and the rest of the organization about his contritbution of the malaise within the team.
This may bring sadness to many fans, but please keep the faith. We shall persevere and do fine without him; He may have been, as stated by Mr. Abraham ” … the greatest closer in Red Sox history…” but of late, he was much more trouble than he was worth. We all loved his bravado and drama generated by The Drop Kick Murphys’ raucous Shipping Up to Boston as his triumphal entry; and for a Mississippi boy, he danced a fine Irish Jig.
Such pomp and swagger, once rightfully owned by Paps, was rapidly becoming the knell of doom. I need not go over his painful decline and certainly, as of the end of September, his potential to remain our greatest closer had become a faint reminder of the glory of yesteryear. You just never could be sure which Papelbon was taking the mound. In addition to dissipation of his talents, rumors were rampant as to his contribution to the psychic decline of the team. All of this is a terrible shame and waste. When he was hot he was very very hot. I have a large autographed picture of him in my “Red Sox” room after his last pitch of the 2007 World Series and his image exuded an aura of nothing but power and self reliance. I have not seen such emanation of late and it is truly heartbreaking. He was really fun to watch when he was cooking. We bear him no ill will and wish him well. We also reluctantly agree that his departure was necessary. I am sorry that Ken Casey will have to get a new guitar face, but such is the cost of progress.
This “rush to the exit”, according to Mr. Abraham, causes legitimate concerns about filling the closer’s spot, but in addition to Daniel Bard, it is my understanding that the negotiations between the Phillies and Ryan Madson/Scott Boras have hit a deal breaking snag. This would most certainly underscore the Phillies’ haste to acquire Papelbon. Signing relievers to contracts, in my humble opinon, to terms longer than two years is really throwing the dice, but apparently current thinking disagrees with that, so I expect that Mr. Madson will require four years at least, at whatever obscene money Mr. Boras’ talents will generate. John Boy has it, but will Theo’s alter ego, Ben Cherington break away from his predecessor’s guide lines and go for broke. We will just have to wait and see.
And in the words of Ned McGreevey “Nuf said”.
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