Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has 20 saves in 25 opportunities this season. (AP)
The Phillies are unraveling at the seams and Jonathan Papelbon’s piercing comments are just the beginning of the melancholy that is to come.
Trade deadline or not, it seems Papelbon has already checked out on the team. Although frankly, he’s right. He didn't sign up for this, but neither did any of the Phillies’ faithful. We all expected one thing from the Phillies, but got something bitterly different -- kind of like asking for your favorite meal in the drive-thru, but leaving with some cold fries and a burger with a bite out of it.
In what is often the case when things fall apart, people start passing the buck. But instead of trying to escape your surroundings, why not take ownership and responsibility of who and what the team is? No one called for Papelbon’s head when he blew four saves in eight days during a late-June swoon. It’s part of what you signed up for -- the good and the bad.
At times, losing is a sensitive topic. Complaints of playing for a losing team from a guy who gladly accepted the largest contract for a closer in MLB history doesn't go over so well. You can’t take all of the money and none of the accountability.
It is understandable -- Papelbon wants to win. We all do. Fans have all invested their time, money and attention into the name on the front of the jersey. For Papelbon, adding some leadership and poise under the pressure of a trying season is a great way to set an example.
Papelbon went on to say the Phillies need to retool much like the Red Sox did a few years ago. He’s spot on. Let’s hope it can go that smoothly. Maybe Ryan Howard can bounce back like David Ortiz did -- maybe.
But in the interim, here it is, another season of discontent and lowered expectations. There are no easy answers. But at least we have Jonathan Papelbon to diagnose the Phillies’ problems.
After all, he was a Psych major in college.