Sit Down, Shut Up, Jonathan Papelbon
Remember the “idiot kicker” that Peyton Manning referred to when Mike Vanderjagt was running his mouth? The baseball equivalent is Jonathan Papelbon. All a kicker does in football is kick the ball through uprights. That’s their only job. The job is similar to a closer in baseball, whose only job is to pitch one inning at the end of the game to hold the lead. The closer position has the highest turnover rate of all positions in baseball because every player is capable of pitching one inning.
This makes closers one of the most over-rated, over-paid positions in baseball. This is a claim echoed by Michael Lewis, Billy Beane, and every other fantasy baseball nut in the world.
One of the better one inning pitchers in the game is Jonathan Papelbon. He has earned his stripes as an effective closer in the game. However, this does not justify him running his mouth about Manny Ramirez, which he recently did after news of Manny Ramirez violating the MLB drug policy. His job description does not include bad mouthing former team mates. Especially former team mates that are more accomplished, have been around the league longer and despite the drug allegations, are probably more liked than he is.
Papelbon is simply taking the easy way out. He was not doing much talking while Ramirez was winning World Series’ with the Red Sox. It is too easy to criticize someone when they are at their lowest point. Papelbon was not saying much during the Dodgers’ 21 win start, which revolved around Ramirez. It is uncourageous of Papelbon to kick a former team mate while he is down.
Papelbon seems to be the leader of the current Red Sox I told you so attitude regarding Manny Ramirez. Red Sox Nation is patting themselves on the back for moving Ramirez, especially now that he faces a 50 game suspension.
It is an attitude inherited from never losing. Every major professional team from Massachusetts has experienced winning over the past decade. They have reserved the right to say whatever they want and feel watever they want because they never lose. At this point, even when they are blatantly wrong, their ego leads them to believe that somehow they are right. Need evidence? Simply watch a NESN broadcast of any Boston team and you will never experience a more “homer” commentary.
Recently, Jim Rice claimed that even though Ramirez was in Boston during the prime of his career and won the city win a World Series, Ramirez isn’t a true Red Sox. Another example of kicking a guy while he is down. I am willing to bet that Rice was praising Ramirez when he was hitting 40 home runs every year, rather than putting him down.