Jonathan Papelbon Presumably Using Leadership to Ignore Awful Preseason Appearances


Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Papelbon’s numbers this spring do not reflect his attitude.

Everything’s fine!  Papelbon is his normal, bear-wrestling self.  It’s just the preseason and he’s focusing on his delivery rather than velocity and accuracy and not-getting-hammered-ness.  Regardless of what he’s doing, Paps is not worried in the slightest.

In spring training, we attempt to quell our childlike enthusiasm; even crush it, if you will, to make room for nice, healthy toxicity.  I mean, what if we say the Phillies are going to be okay out loud, and then later, when they’re not okay, someone traces our comments back to us and points and says, “HEY!  Over here!  It’s that guy who said the Phillies would be okay!”  

It’s a nightmare we all live with, day after day.  And Papelbon threw his first scoreless inning the other day, but that doesn’t erase all the really obvious hopelessness of his previous Grapefruit League appeareances.

Unless you’re Jonathan Papelbon and it was never there in the first place.

"“I don’t worry about really making pitches until the last few weeks. Really to me, it’s all about delivery.”—Jonathan Papelbon"

I don’t care if that’s pretty much what everyone thought, THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM.  I mean, does our closer even think he’ll be ready by the time opening day rolls around?

"“I don’t feel like that, no.”"

**Fans all bow their heads and turn away dejectedly.**

"“…I know it.”"

**Fans all stop abruptly, turn around, huge smiles on their faces.**

Papelbon knows how to work a crowd.