Thursday, March 29, 2007

I alluded in an earlier post to the ( alleged, by me ) liars, Papelbon and Epstein. A friend wrote a few minutes ago wanting to know the details of that story. Here they are: Papelbon was interviewed a lot early in spring training. He was thrilled to be in the starting rotation, a position he was expected to have last season. Circumstances thrust him into another role, that of closer. He was brilliant. Unbelievable. A larger than life character who walked out of the dugout, onto the pages of a Bernard Malamud story. That was then.

This is now, the 2007 preseason. Theo promises that Jonathan will be in the starting rotation. Jonathan couldn't be happier. This is what I was born to do he says, in so many words.

Theo says the Red Sox are far more comfortable with Jonathan pitching every fourth day. He has a bad shoulder. Pitching, as a closer does, two, three, maybe four days in a row, even though it's only one or two innings at a time, is bad for the young athlete's health. May damage him. May shorten his career. Mike Timlin, who is old enough to be Jonathan's father, ( and speaking of father figures, Theo's grandfather and grand uncle co-wrote the screenplay for " Casablanca, " which was, like all works of fiction, thick with lies. ) was named to be the closer. Five weeks into the spring training season. The big question in the papers, The Globe, The Providence Journal, etc. was: Who will be the closer? With a payroll like the Sox have, second only to the Yankees, it should be clear. Pardon me, but I'm going to mention Rummy.

The Sox go with the pitchers they have, not the ones they wish they had. Hasn't Theo ever heard of E-Bay?! Buy someone!

But no. It was Timlin who got the call in the late innings of the spring training season. And, of course, a Malamudian thing happened, as it happened in 2004 with Shilling's bloody foot.Timlin got hurt. And Papelbon got the call to come in, and relieve him. Jonathan is now saying he's happy with that, that it was " his " decision. Theo?

Of all the ballparks in all the baseball world, he had to walk into ours.

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