Former Red Sox and current Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, in an interview on WEEI’s Hot Stove show with Rob Bradford and guest co-host John McDonald (who played with Papelbon in Philadelphia in 2013 before getting traded to the Red Sox in August) on Thursday, said that he followed his former team’s postseason run enthusiastically. He suggested that he was unsurprised by his team’s ultimate success, both on the basis of the leadership provided by former teammates Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz as well as the dominance of Koji Uehara.
“I watched every game of the World Series, every inning, every pitch. I loved it, man. I was calling pitches when Koji was in there — you know how you do when you’re watching games, ‘He’s going to go to this’ or ‘He’s going to go to that.’ I tell you what, I was pulling for them,” said Papelbon. “I knew, I don’t want to say this now, but I knew they were going to win. I knew what that clubhouse was like. I knew what was probably going on before the games, how it was, I knew what kind of leadership they had over there with David and Dustin. I just knew, if I was a betting man, I would have bet on them. But I’m not a betting man. I was happy for them. Dustin’s one of my best friends in the game. I couldn’t have been happier.”
Papelbon is now connected in both Red Sox and baseball history with Uehara, as both pitchers have recorded the final out of the World Series for the Red Sox, with Papelbon and Uehara having accomplished the feat six years apart as the culmination of dominant postseasons. Papelbon described his colleague as having been a pivotal force in October. “I’m obviously biased. I thought he was the difference-maker and the reason why the Red Sox won the World Series. I truly do,” said Papelbon. “He did what he was supposed to do and put the team on his back. He was in that groove. He was just feeling it. As an athlete, when you start to feel that, it doesn’t really matter what you throw or what you do. You’re just going to be good. That was it.”
As for his current Phillies team, Papelbon suggested that clubhouse dynamics were responsible for preventing the team’s players from translating ability into success during a 73-89 2013 season.
“On our team, I honestly believe we have more talent than any other roster out there. But if you don’t take that talent and mesh it together, figure out each others’ little pros and cons and figure out how to make a 25-man roster form into one, nothing will work. I don’t care how much you spend or how many guys you have in the bullpen or how many starters you have and it just doesn’t work,” said Papelbon. “Look at the Red Sox last year. John [McDonald] will probably tell you the moment he walked into the Red Sox clubhouse there was an entirely different feel from when he left Philly. I’m not putting those words in John’s mouth by any means, but when you have a group of guys who go for 162 games plus spring training plus the playoffs, you have to have each other’s backs and know what he’s going to do before the next guy from you is going to do before he does it.”
Papelbon made similar claims during the season with the Phillies, including a memorable midyear suggestion that he “didn’t come [to Philadelphia] for this.” McDonald said that he understood where the Phillies closer was coming from in making that claim. Papelbon, meanwhile, suggested that he’s made similar statements while with the Red Sox at times when his team struggled, but without the same response.
“I was a new guy coming into the Philadelphia clubhouse. Coming into a new clubhouse, you tend to watch more than you speak. I will say this, I came from a clubhouse where it was in your face, it was ‘this is how we’re going to do it.’ We’re going to yell at each other and when we don’t do what we’re expected of, we’re going to let you know. That’s kind of the way I was groomed into being a baseball player,” said Papelbon. “Then I go to Philadelphia and it wasn’t necessarily that way, and I know that I’ve gotten a bad rap, some of the guys will say I’m not a good clubhouse guy because I’ll get upset and I’ll say something, but I’ve always said what’s on my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever shied away from my beliefs. But I think some of it reporters in Philly maybe take a little bit different because I was used to saying that, hey, this is how I feel, we’re not winning and I’m not happy.”
Papelbon has two years and $26 million remaining on his contract, with a vesting option that could bring him an additional $13 million for the 2016 season if he finishes 100 games in the next two years or 55 in 2015. Though Papelbon has a 2.67 ERA, 67 saves, 10.2 strikeouts and 2.0 walks per nine innings in his first two years in Philly, concerns about declining stuff and his sizable contract have reportedly left the Phillies open to moving Papelbon.
“I think there’s a little bit of truth to every rumor,” Papelbon said of whether he thought there was substance to the reports of his availability. “I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Adam Schefter joins MFB to talk about the latest with Roger Goodell and how he is going to handle his upcoming press conference.
Christian breaks down what the Patriots need to do to beat the Raiders this Sunday
MFB talks to Sal Cappaccio of WGR in Buffalo, Ryan Ruocco of ESPN NY, and Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Joe and Dave talk with David Ortiz after he hits two home runs to propel the Red Sox to an extra-innings win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Ben Cherington discussed the debut of Castillo and his thoughts on Jeter.
As the season winds down, We check in Sox skipper John Farrell as we await the Boston debut of Rusney Castillo.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys opened the show responding to MFB's MFK.
Jerod Mayo gives Christian karaoke advice and previews the Patriots home opener.
Christian chooses his song for Karaoke tonight.
We check in with the great 88, the playmaker Michael Irvin joins Dale and Holley.
Michael, Dale and Tom E. Curran break down, react and take your calls about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's first public press conference this regular season.
For our final segment we take a look back at the infamous Snow Bowl and the Tuck Rule play, this time via Raiders radio and more.
Co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, talks about his Sam Adams beer and the history of his brewery.
Danny picard is filling in for Mikey and talks with CSNNE's Mike Giardi about Clay Buchholz heading up the Red Sox pitching rotation, and how the Patriots have looked through training camp so far.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Your beloved hosts are joined by WEEI.com Bruins reporter DJ Bean as well as producer of the Dennis & Callahan Show, Craig "Sausage" Sawisch. Support America: Support Your Local Post Office
Dennis, Callahan and Minihane make their podcast debut. This week's topics include Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jenny Dell and some discussion on people we've encountered with the worst breath.
The 100th Minor Details podcast revisits some old friends, as WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB.com prospect guru Jim Callis, who were the guests on the first show in November 2010, join the show anew.
Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.More from this show