Friday, May 16, 2014

Weighing in on Papelbon

Now that the dust is starting to settle on Jonathan Papelbon's decline to pitch on Sunday, I would like to offer my ever so objective opinion about the guy.

Yes, he has pitched for 9 years without being on the DL. Yes, he is having a pretty good season and we don't want to ruin that. However, these reasons or excuses are underhanded and completely make a joke of the Phillies team and organization. They do just fine making a joke of themselves, now they have Pap helping out.

I don't like Papelbon, never have. You can't argue with the success he had...4 years ago. But he is a prima donna, living off of his success with the Red Sox and thinking he is higher than the team. His contract isn't just $50 million. It's $50,000,058. Come on. Terrific, you wear number 58. Congratulations.

Monday was an off day. General soreness? Stiff neck? You really don't justify $50 million, let alone the extra $58 you demanded. Baseball already has a weak athletes affiliation, Papelbon gets an assist on that.

The biggest thing, I believe, that is missing from the ongoing debates, is the downfall that has ensued since Papelbon made himself unavailable Sunday in a 5-4 loss to the Mets, when leading 4-1 in the ninth inning.

The team has now lost 3 straight. The players are questioning when they can take their next self-declared day off, and the team is pretty much telling their fans that they have given up on the season. If it isn't important enough to you to overcome your 'general stiffness' for a May baseball game, then every game doesn't matter to you. Every win doesn't matter. Your team's success is not important.

As I mentioned in my last blog, Philly loves the blue collar player. It resonates with what this city is and how this city developed. When Aaron Rowand broke his face making that catch in CF, he was a hero. When Cliff Lee said he would pitch game 6 or 7 of the 2009 World Series after winning game 1 and 5 he was a hero. Jonathan Papelbon is the opposite of this. He is the opposite of what this city looks for in its players. No surprise, coming from Boston.

Where does the team go from here? Where they should have gone two years ago. They should clean out Papelbon's locker, trade him, and save the little dignity that they can over their $50 million loss. Let's be honest, Brad Lidge pitched a perfect season, no questions asked, went out every game, and earned a $37 million contract extension. He won them a World Series. Papelbon has ruined many opportunities in 1+ season on a $50 million contract and we will never sniff the playoffs with him. There's no need for him, and there's no need for this team to hang out to players that haven't had success for 4 seasons.

As subjective as Philly fans may be, they have long-term memory. This debacle will not soon be forgotten. Although the misery of the rest of the season could certainly drown out the misery of May 11th. 

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