Perhaps it was an attempt to ingratiate himself to the fans of his new team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Or, maybe it was a dig at the fans of his former team in Boston. Either way, new Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has expressed his opinion about the fans of both his current and former teams.
Speaking to the local Philadelphia CBS affiliate, Papelbon said: “The difference between Boston and Philadelphia, the Boston fans are a little bit more hysterical when it comes to the game of baseball. The Philly fans tend to know the game a little better, being in the National League, you know, the way the game is played.” He went on to say: “I’ve had a guy take of his prosthetic leg and throw it in the bullpen in Boston. It’s a religion. It’s a way of life. They come to the field and they expect certain things out of players. It’s an environment where you put up or shut up. I enjoyed that. It got my motor running every day.”
Moving from one of the biggest sports markets in the country to another puts Papelbon in an interesting situation and one that is certainly unchartered territory for the closer. There is no doubt that fans in both cities are fervent in their devotion to their teams. Stories of fans in Philadelphia are the things of legend (regardless of how factually accurate or embellished they may or may not be). And, while Red Sox fans do not necessarily have the same negative stigma attached to them, their dedication is beyond question.
One thing is for certain, however; the statements from Papelbon are going to make for an interesting dynamic when Boston visits Philly in May, considering how well Red Sox fans travel.