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Jonathan Papelbon is “Cinco Ocho?”

Apr 26, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners Getty Images

I’ve written on a number of occasions that no one really knows anyone; at least not that well.  The idea is that there is often more than meets the eye when it comes to people who we know primarily via their athletic exploits. They have entire lives away from the field, and we only see the little parts of that they want us to see. Or, in the case of those not blessed with good P.R. skills and good judgment, those parts of it they don’t want us to see. In no event, however, can we as fans know an athlete too well.

But then I read stuff like this story from John Tomase in today’s Boston Herald and I think: “Really? Jonathan Papelbon is a complex character?  There’s more to him than meets the eye?”

He makes the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World look like a monk. He strikes equal fear in opponents and teammates. He combines the terror of Jaws with the mystery of Nessie. He is Cinco Ocho. And he is the Sphinx, the pyramids, a column on Easter Island — an enigma that is oft seen, but little understood.

OK. I don’t know Jonathan Papelbon. Never met the guy. I can’t say at all that there’s not more depth to this guy than the fist-pumping, jig-dancing dude we see closing Red Sox games. I’ll take Tomase’s word for it.

But I am skeptical. It’s OK to be skeptical, right?

  1. BC - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    The dude’s dumb as a stone. If there were a Spanish word for Crapelbon, he’d be that.

    • uyf1950 - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      BC – Have I told you recently you’re my idol. That has to be the best nickname any fan (be it not a Red Sox fan, but a fan) has ever given a ball player, as a take off on his real name.

      • dan1111 - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:39 AM

        Don’t get me wrong: changing any syllable with an “ap” sound to “crap” has its place, but: really????

      • marshmallowsnake - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        I am a Red Sox fan…and every time Papelbon blows a save, I call it a Pap-smear…

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:54 PM

        I don’t know, I’m kinda partial to “Poopelbon” myself.

      • Glenn - Apr 26, 2011 at 8:56 PM

        His been “Crapelbum” at my house for two years now. We also have “Dicey” and “Lacking”. A friend prefers “Shellacing” for the latter.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      BC, I recently took two years of Spanish and I can’t think of for the life of me, the Spanish word for Chipwhich. Any suggestions?

      • BC - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

        Meta con galletas de pastilla de chocolate.

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        Kinda just rolls off the tongue, don’t it?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      Haha, I’ve been saying the same thing for years, marsh.

  2. dan1111 - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Hilarious article. I don’t understand why people are so down on Papelbon. He’s good and he makes the game more interesting.

    • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:52 AM

      He can actually get people who don’t watch or care about baseball to watch and care about baseball. I saw this happen in a sports bar I was in with my friends. Hockey was on 7 of 8 TVs and baseball on the last (where we were). Everyone stopped watching hockey to watch Papelbon do his thing. They pretty much all knew him and those who didn’t were quickly brought up to speed. I felt sort of proud of him, right there. It was kind of cool.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:56 PM

        You guys like hockey up there aye? Going to watch the Flyers crush the hopes and dreams of the 2011 Sabres tonight?

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM

        Nope. Holdin’ out for the Canucks to rescue the series from the ‘Hawks 2nite & I got a ballgame to watch too; Jays v Rangers. Hadn’t really thought about that series between the Phlyers and Sabres but since you guys will care I’ll toss my hat in their corner. Go Phlyers.

      • jwbiii - Apr 26, 2011 at 5:24 PM

        I’m thinking that Luongo will spending time after the game with Kleenex rather than champagne.

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 6:39 PM

        Bobby Lu will be drunk as a skunk by midnight. Happy and drunk.

      • jwbiii - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:07 AM

        Or not (Extends hand).

  3. manute - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    In a sportsworld where Brian Wilson’s tired, choreographed act passes as CRAZY! and FUN!, I suppose Paps could be considered somewhat interesting. He’s actually toned it down a bit in recent years and seems to have focused more on his profession than his persona.

  4. spudchukar - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    I do not know Jonathan Papelbon at all. Yet, I loath, despise, and detest the ground he walks on. Totally, irrational? Yep. Could I be wrong? Possibly. But unless I learn he is the re-incarnation of Mother Teresa, I will maintain that he is a flaming Jerk.

    • mentalotherhalf - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      Read more about Mother Teresa; you’ll really start to question some things.

  5. jwbiii - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    I saw a video clip from a charity event a few years ago. One of the skits was Red Sox players (Papelbon, Ramirez, Pedroia, etc.) as panelists playing a dumbed down version of the 1970s TV game show Match Game. One clue was “Single ladies, put a _____ on it.” I guess that dates it to 2008. The other panelists of course answered “ring.” Papelbon answered “condom.” I’m not buying The Most Interesting Man in the World alter ego, but that was a funny and intelligent answer. Maybe he figures if you act dumb and don’t say much, CHB will leave you alone.

  6. APBA Guy - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    I try not to forget that these guys are in their 20′s making piles of cash. I certainly had my less than shining moments when I was that age and I didn’t have nearly their money and the posse of hangers’-on and enablers they do. Not saying some of the nonsense is right, but a lot of the persona and off the field stuff (non Carl Everett division) has some entertainment value. Paps seems pretty harmless to me, as does Brian Wilson.

  7. beantownsports247 - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    At least he isn’t blowing saves like the all time great Mariano this year :x

    • bklynbaseball - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:19 PM

      give him time, friend……give him time……

  8. woodduck1956 - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    how many saves did he successfully complete? how many did he blow? i rest my case! nobody is perfect, get off his back. what this man does off the diamond is nobody’s business but his

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