Closing Time

One could make the argument that a team’s closer is the most important player on the roster. A good closer is the guy that can come out of the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning of a close game and consistently shut the opponent down. He may only pitch sixty innings a year, but every single one of them counts. He needs to have a short memory, mental toughness, and ice water flowing through his veins.

The pressure of being a Major League closer has ruined the careers of countless pitchers. These guys are special and are a rare breed of ballplayer. Fortunately for the Boston Red Sox, they have such a guy, and they need to lock him up for a long time.

Jonathan Papelbon is entering his third season as the Red Sox closer, and during his short career he has quickly turned into the game’s elite closer, all for the bargain basement price of $425,500 a year. Major League Baseball has a weird salary structure that bases salaries on a player’s initial years of service, so Boston is under no obligation to pay him any more than that. But why take the chance of insulting the best closer in the game?

So why doesn’t Boston lock him up for a long-term contract? The Red Sox have shown that they’re not afraid to spend money. (See Dice K’s $51.1 million posting fee, J.D. Drew’s $14 million a year, Julio Lugo’s $9 million a year.) Why not spend some on the guy that saved 37 games last year and was unstoppable in the playoffs?

Not to mention, Papelbon may be the most liked athlete in all of New England. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I don’t ever remember an athlete doing an Irish jig after winning a big game. I’m not sure what Boston fans find more endearing, his All-Star caliber pitching, or his ability to relate to the common man.

Papelbon reminds me of a combination of Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Karl Childers from Sling Blade, a likable party animal with a mean streak. His recipe for success seems simple: sprint from the bullpen, crazy stare to home plate, 96 MPH fastball. Repeat as necessary. Whether he comes in for one out or two innings, this combination has been the reason that Boston knows that it’s game over when Papelbon enters the game.

So Theo Epstein, please give this guy the contract that he deserves. I can’t bear the thought of him dancing in another team’s uniform.

14 Responses to “Closing Time”

  1. Spanky the YANKEE Says:

    Nice web site you guys be come champs twice in 400 years and every one has a web site.. two guys to each site RIGHT? this IS our year sock boys.. your luck has run out.. Papelbon will be ours next year just like johnny d… every one wants to play in the BIG APPLE.. BEAN TOWN HAS A FOUL SMELL TO IT.. WELL YOU TWO GUYS KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ha … THE YANKEE SPANK MASTER…

  2. Matt McLaughlin Says:

    What is he spanking is the only question being brought up?

  3. Dave Says:

    This is your typical idiotic, uninformed, loser Yankee fan. I don’t want to know what he’s spanking.

  4. Jason Bay Says:

    How is that Johnny D pickup working for ya anyways?

  5. Dave Says:

    Wow!! The Canadian Yankee/Pirate fan is slamming a fellow Yankee. What is this world coming to?? I’m happy to see you commenting again. I was beginning to think Canada banned the Internet.

  6. Randy Smythe Says:

    Dave, the blog looks great! Keep up the good work and we’ll see you in October.

  7. Spanky the YANKEE Says:

    Are all you guys brothers?or in the same home room at Boston Middle School? The Yankee fans are going to out number you guys pretty soon .. this will be a yankee lover hang out ,its like an EMPTY BUILDING. no one here . . the little storys some one writes for you are swell. Thank the nun that teachs you english.. ALL MY YANKEE FRIENDS WILL BE HERE SOON TO RAG ONYOU KIDS.. it will be after 9 p/m. when your all in bed.. the yankee master spanky the kid…………………………………WE LOVE A-ROD……….

  8. Dave Says:

    I really wish that this guy would take his medication.

  9. Matt McLaughlin Says:

    Or some formaldahide.

  10. Dave Says:

    I’m starting to think that they readers here may be getting a little soft. We have a Yankee fan coming to our site and talking all kinds of New York trash and we are pretty much sitting here and taking it. If this was last year, this Yankee fan would have to get psychological evaluation for the abuse he would have received for running his mouth here. Is everyone saving their “A” game for the regular season??

  11. Matt McLaughlin Says:

    C-Mac is non existant, he’s dropped off the face of the earth again, and honestly, I feel that I may scar Mr Spanky if I start on him. We need to have someone to be the resident Asshole of the site. Mr Spanky fits perfectly, cant speak english properly, spouts random garbage facts from his delusional world, and is a Yankee fan, he fits perfectly. Welcome to the site!

    btw, Dylan needs to be elected official badass of the greater Punta Gorda area for his comments tonight. I believe it went a little something like this.

    Friend- “So do you know what happens when you jump into a cold lake?”
    Fat Broad- “Your penis gets even smaller?”
    Dylan- “Too bad chicks didnt loose 15 pounds when they jump in.”

    Absolutely perfect.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    ALL MY YANKEE FRIENDS WILL BE HERE SOON TO RAG ONYOU KIDS.. it will be after 9 p/m……..I’ll have you know that your Mother goes to bed earlier then that, and in bed with your mother is where you will find me………now, on to making fun of you…….did you really mention someone teaching an english class? have you re-read anything you have written? Spell Check is an amazing function of technology 15years ago, get on that. I see that you’re pretty loyal yankee team, which should be expected, they haven’t begun losing yet for you to jump off the bandwagon, and then, in a few months when the Sox are on top the AL East, have you bring up some horrible come back of how you’ve loved the NY Giants all your life.

    Dylan ” How many of those 26 rings had you as a fan?” Hamilton

  13. Matt McLaughlin Says:

    This was taken from October of Last Year, at the end of the Cleveland Series.

    “Is that what you do, come in hear and shout off some obscure passage, just to impress some girls, and insult my friend here”-Goodwill Hunting

    That article is right though, the
    Rockies still don’t have the offense the phillies have. It’s a fluke team, in a fluke divison of baseball, that snuck into the world series. Congrats on picking up some bandwagon fans, sneaking in the backdoor of the playoffs and the world series, and for being the team the Red Sox have some fun with enroute to the World Series Title. This series will be as much of a fight as a hammer has with a nail. Go Sox.
    -Dylan ” The guy who cheers for the guy team that came back from 3-1 against the Cleveland Chief Wahoo’s and now face the Colorado Coors Light Beer League Softball team from the C-Divsion” Hamilton

    I think if you compare this to the post above, it is proof that Dylan either has used this spring training to get back into form OR he just never lost it over the winter. Ill opt the later.

    btw Spanky, do some research on this site to past experiences and entries where I went off to a point where Dave told me that I went to far. I dont like making single, fat, pimple assed, living at home in the basement of his mother’s house, Yankee rooting, pig headed and not to forget, ignorant to the fact that real baseball fans actually know something about the game and can spout facts becides “26 rings” repeatedly, cry. I have better things to do, like actually having a job, where I get to be around the game that I love. It couldnt be better. Have fun bagging at the Stop and Shop later, I heard that they may raise you to $6.35 soon. Even special people get raises. Keep it up.

  14. Dave Says:

    Suddenly everything is right again with the universe. Thanks for bringing some “smack” back to the site.

Leave a Reply