Jonathan Papelbon Reacts to Being Booed by Red Sox Fans

Jonathan Papelbon Reacts to Being Booed by Red Sox Fans

Perhaps it was against Charlie Manuel’s better judgment to remove Cliff Lee from a game where the 2008 Cy Young Award winner had retired 23 consecutive batters and only thrown 95 pitches.

Regardless, Jonathan Papelbon got his storybook ending at Fenway Park on Wednesday – or part of it at least – mowing down the Red Sox 1-2-3 in the ninth inning to earn a save against his former team of seven seasons. We say only “part of it” because the homecoming might not have been received quite as Pap imagined it.

The Phillies closer was mostly booed as he took the mound, this despite reports that the Sox organization did not offer him a contract following the 2011 season, a point the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo raised again after the contest.

If it bothered Papelbon, it didn’t show before or after his outing. The 32 year old continued to look untouchable in ‘13, finishing out a 3-1 victory to convert his 10th save in as many opportunities, and thin-slicing that ERA to 0.92 in the process – you can almost see through that number.

Later on in the locker room he did his best to downplay the mixed crowd reaction, more or less admitting it only gave the alter-ego “Cinco” more fuel. Per Cafardo:

Papelbon said he didn’t mind the boos. He felt it was a sign of respect.

“Felt like the first time I got booed at Yankee stadium I felt like I had made it. I’ve always enjoyed this city and pitching off the mound here. It felt like old times with all the visuals you get. Old times but in a different uniform,” Papelbon said.

Jim Salisbury also indicated Papelbon more or less brushed the response off, the nine-year veteran offering a resigned, “That’s how they love you in this town.”

Papelbon was a four-time All Star in Boston and helped the franchise win its last World Series in 2007. The team apparently didn't even make an offer. Tough crowd.

Sounds familiar.

The fans’ tunes would undoubtedly change were Papelbon sent back to Boston. If the Phils are sellers at the trade deadline, an elite closer like Pap could fetch a fair price on the market. And while his no-trade clause covers the Red Sox, something tells us he could make an exception.

>> Papelbon gets the best of his ‘brothers’ [Globe]

More from Jonathan Papelbon on his 105th save at Fenway:

Sixers reach respectable spot in ESPN's latest NBA power rankings

Sixers reach respectable spot in ESPN's latest NBA power rankings

Everything seemed status-quo in ESPN’s Marc Stein’s most updated NBA power rankings. As expected the Warriors, Spurs, and Cavaliers occupied the top spots. But when you venture down to number 15, you may gasp. 
  
Yes, the Sixers (15-27) are gracing the middle of the power rankings at number 15. Stein is starting to "trust the process" after the team’s recent 8-2 stint. It isn’t just Joel Embid making headlines with his record-breaking numbers and internet love life, but the team is now getting its due.  
  
“Philly is doing plenty of interesting things,” Stein wrote. “Ersan Ilyasova and Robert Covington have combined to drain 51 threes over the past 10 games. The Sixers, as a team, have moved into the league's top 10 in defensive efficiency.”

Covington and Ilyasova are part of a new-look starting five along with Embiid, and guards T.J. McConnell and Nik Stauskas. McConnell and Stauskas had spent the majority of the season coming off the bench, but Stauskas has started the last 12 and McConnell 10 of the last 11 (McConnell was sidelined for one game with a wrist injury). The Sixers are 7-3 with that starting guard duo.
 
Despite the most recent loss to the Hawks, the Sixers have won four of their last eight victories by one possession. Giving them plenty of momentum to jump up ten spots from the last power ranking. 
 
The Sixers will be at home to play the Clippers this Tuesday night at 7 p.m. They will be without Joel Embid who continues to rest his injured left knee. 
 

Jim Gaffigan warned Pope Francis not to mention Santa Claus in Philly

Jim Gaffigan warned Pope Francis not to mention Santa Claus in Philly

Comedian Jim Gaffigan opened up for Pope Francis when he visited Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families back in 2015.

That would seem like an odd opener for the Supreme Pontiff. And Gaffigan admits as much.

Gaffigan was a guest of Stephen Colbert's on Friday on his Late Show and talked about the surreal experience of warming up the crowd in Philly.

"I'm not a good Catholic," Gaffigan says. "If there was a test for Catholics, I would fail. But most Catholics would fail which is probably why there's not a test."

The comedian also got in a few low level digs at our town.

"'Philadelphia: the City of Brotherly Love,' which if you've been to Philly you know they mean that sarcastically," he says. "I mean, I love Philly but they mean that the same way they say 'Syria: the place for peace.'"

Meh.

"I was nervous at the sound check so I had to come up with some Philadelphia jokes. What do I know about Philadelphia? I know about the Liberty Bell, I know the cheesesteak, and I had just watched this ESPN 30-for-30 about Eagles fans throwing snowballs at Santa. Not on the brand of Brotherly Love. So when I was finally introduced there was still nobody there, I figured I'd just do my set. So I said, 'It's good to be here in Philadelphia,' and I heard a roar from crowd on the highway, so I thought I'd play to the crowd in the highway. 'Philly loves the Pope!' and I got another roar. 'Not that I was worried but you guys weren't that nice to Santa Claus.' Nothing. Silence. And then I heard something that sounded like booing... because it was booing. It wasn't everybody, maybe ten percent, so like 100,000 people booing my Santa joke before they saw their religious leader who was going to talk about mercy."

"Eventually I got a chance to meet the Pope and I was in this room and everybody was saying something to the Pope and I didn't know what to say. So when it finally came my turn, I said, 'Don't bring up the Santa incident.' The Pope didn't say anything but he gave me a look like, 'Dude, I would never bring that up.'"

The ESPN film that Gaffigan mentioned was actually a spoof. It was just kind of okay. You can watch it here.

The Pope part starts around the 5:10 mark in the below video. You can also catch Gaffigan's new standup special titled "Cinco" on Netflix.