Today in the news it was revealed that Jonathan Papelbon -our fearless and nearly invincible “closer” on the Boston Red Sox pitching staff for the past several years- has signed on with the Phillies. As a Red Sox fan -and a “Pap” fan- I admit it was with a twinge of devastation that I watched him pull on his new Phillies jersey during the press conference, and listen to him say, “There was no hesitation” in his decision to go where he was “Wanted.” Wanted indeed, to the tune of $50 million and 58 dollars, to be exact.
“Wow there is going to be some backlash in Boston,” I say to my husband.
My husband disagrees. “Can’t blame the guy,” he says.
“Yes I know,” I concede. (I mean, $50 mil; c’mon.) “But here in Boston we love him with our HEARTS.” To be reminded that it is no more than a business arrangement that comes down to cold hard cash just feels a bit like a slap in the face. Not that it’s wrong. “It’s just such a strange relationship,” I say.
My husband continues to posit some point that I don’t understand. (Like, one different than my OWN, for example. Is he *seeking* a disagreement with me?)
“I’m just remembering the devastation after Johnny Damon left,” I say.
“That’s because he went to the Yankees,” he says. “This is different.”
“It still feels like a break up,” I say. And STILL he’s not swayed. (Does my husband *have* feelings?)
“Fine!” -as my toddler would say- I say. “I’ll just speak for myself then. *I’M* heartbroken. And apparently I’m the ONLY one in RED SOX NATION who feels this way!”
I continue wiping down the kitchen garbage can with an inexplicable urgency. I think about that LOOK in Pap’s eyes when he has finally, late in the game, assumed the mound to take no prisoners and seal the deal and hammer the nail in the coffin to send yet another hopeful opponent back where they belong, AWAY from Fenway Park, in defeat. That LOOK like he’s going to kick your A$$ if you even blink in his direction. The opposing batters always do their best to look tough, but you know on the inside they’re peeing their pants. (Lord knows mine get a little wet.)*
Then I start thinking about Papelbon’s goofy antics every time we win a big championship; the Irish Dancing Maniac.
I realize I LOVE him. It’s a classic tale of you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
“It’s just…” I say to my husband. “It’s just that he’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to baseball since… since… MICHAEL FLATLEY!”
* (In my defense, I did recently have a baby so my pants could be wet for any reason at this point. I’m just saying is all.)