As if Jonathan Papelbon wasn’t unpopular enough in New York.
While the rest of the baseball world heaped praise on Mariano Rivera for his Hall of Fame career during Monday’s All-Star media day, the Red Sox closer declared that he deserves to be the American League’s ninth-inning man at Yankee Stadium Tuesday.
“If I was managing the team, I would close,” Papelbon said. “I’m not managing the team, so it don’t matter.”
Papelbon, though, seemed to believe that Boston’s championship a year ago not only ensured Terry Francona’s place as the American League manager, but him being the closer.
“We’ve both earned that right; us, by winning the World Series and having the opportunity of having our manager there and our team being represented, and Mariano by what he’s done for this role, we’re in Yankee Stadium and blah, blah, blah,” Papelbon said. “It’s not that easy. Everybody thinks it’s a cut and dry answer, but it’s not.”
Francona, meanwhile, was coy when asked about his ninth-inning plans.