PHILADELPHIA — Did you really think Jonathan Papelbon would offer a normal explanation?
Papelbon was asked after earning a save Wednesday against Boston about his pregame comments, in which he suggested that the Red Sox will always be a part of him and that he still doesn’t feel at home four years after signing with the Phillies.
The eccentric closer responded to the postgame questioning with strange answers, leading to a rather bizarre exchange with the media.
Below is a transcript of Papelbon’s exchange with reporters, per WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Reporter: What did you think of Hanley Ramirez’s fly ball when it left the bat in the eighth inning?
Papelbon: Third out of the inning.
Reporter: Did you think it was gone?
Papelbon: No, did you?
Reporter: I thought it might have been.
Papelbon: So you thought it was gone?
Reporter: I thought it was going to be close.
Papelbon: Fair enough
Reporter: Is your mindset any different getting a four-out save?
Papelbon: Not really. I think for me everything stays the same, and I go out there and try do a job, and when I’m called on nothing changes.
Reporter: Coming in there in a pressure situation (in the eighth inning), bases loaded, fans cheering you, does it make you any more like a Phillie?
Papelbon: Other than, a what? What is a Phillie? A horse? That’s what it is? I feel like a horse, yeah. I feel like a horse. I felt like a horse tonight.
Reporter: When 25,000 in the rain cheering you on, do you feel like a Phillie?
Papelbon: Yeah, I feel like a horse.
Reporter: A Phillie is not a horse in this case.
Papelbon: What is it?
Reporter: It’s the thing with the red pinstripes.
Papelbon: Yeah, of course.
Reporter: You didn’t say that before the game. You said, ‘I don’t feel much like a Phillie.’ Can you explain that a little bit? You’re five saves away from tying the franchise record and you don’t feel like a Phillie?
Papelbon: For me, it’s like, where are you from? I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So that’s what I’ll always say. That’s what I’ll always say. That’s where I feel I’m from. That’s where I grew up. That’s where my roots are.
So you ask me what runs deep in me? The Red Sox still run in me. It’s where I’m from. It’s where I grew up. It’s who I became as a pitcher, so that will always stick with me, no matter what. That doesn’t really change anything how I go about my business.
Reporter: Do you think they wanted you back?
Papelbon: No. That was probably obvious.
Reporter: Do you feel slighted by that?
Papelbon: No. It’s business, baby. Straight cash.
Reporter: You’re here for straight cash?
Reporter: What are you here for?
Papelbon: I’m here to be a Phillie, do my job and compete. That’s really all I do, no matter where I’m at. That’s it.
Reporter: When you break (Jose) Mesa’s record with six saves will you be proud of that?
Papelbon: Yeah, oh yeah. For me to have an opportunity to be the save career leader in two historic franchises means a lot to me, and I don’t take that lightly by any means.
Reporter: Why don’t you feel like a Philadelphia Phillie?
Papelbon: I do.
Reporter: That’s not what you said before the game.
Papelbon: It’s not? What did I say before the game?
(Explanation of comments made to The Boston Globe)
Papelbon: The Red Sox run deep in my blood. That’s who I became as a pitcher. That will always stick with me. It’s just like any time you want to move on you have to adjust and adapt to a new team. I haven’t had any problems doing that here.
Reporter: It’s only been four years.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images