Remember Jonathan Papelbon? The wild eyed Red Sox closer from late last decade? It doesn’t seem very long ago that he was River Dancing in bicycle shorts on the Fenway Park mound and pouring Bud Lights on the ALCS trophy.
We haven’t seen much if anything of Pap since he departed Boston. The last time he pitched in a Sox uniform, Papelbon was blowing the 162nd game of the 2011 meltdown in Baltimore. From there, #58 closed for 5 more years in the National League for the Phillies and Nationals.
The most memorable moment of his post-Sox time was slamming Bryce Harper into the dugout wall in Washington. Since his 2016 retirement, Papelbon has been a ghost, so you know, only Sam Darnold has seen him.
When I heard that Jonathan Papelbon was going to be at a Sportsman’s show this past weekend (along with a couple of Red Sox World Series trophies, who could remember which years) curiosity got the best of me. What would Pap even look like 3 years out of the game? Maybe he’d have a beard? Maybe he’d be bitter about the way things ended in Boston? Philly? Washington? (They did just win the World Series I hear.)
In the end, same old Pap. Back slapping, enthusiastic handshakes and an emphatic “How’s it goin Bud!?” in his strong Mississippi drawl reverberated off the walls of the hall.
If I’d thought to have brought a case of beer, we might have seen a jig as well.