Well, Red Sox Nation can now take one giant collective breath: Jonathon Papelbon is back where he belongs.
Closing games for the Boston Red Sox. EVERYONE COME AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF, ITS OK NOW.
With all the doom and gloom being written and said, you would have thought the boys were destined to finish in last place with the candidates that Theo brought in to try to win the closer's job. Personally, I kinda thought we'd be OK, and that if Piniero or Hansen could not step it up, then Theo would just swing a deal. I knew Pap being put back in was an option: just did not think it would happen this quick.
All that being said, am I glad he's back at the back end of the pen? You betcha: we could be looking at OUR Mariano Rivera for the next 12-15 years. He's got the makeup, the stuff, and attitude to burn: one of my favorite things about last year was Pap coming in and when he'd go into his stretch, that real slow turn of the head, then the Eastwood-esque squint, followed usually by some poor soul flailing away like a blindfolded kid at a pinata. He makes the Red Sox a better team as the closer right now. Maybe one day down the road they find the next Gagne, K-Rod, Rivera, or Papelbon, and he can give starting a whirl.
What I find hilarious is the gnashing of teeth that has gone on for a month now about who the closer would be. Do people not stop and think before going off? Take away the Yankees, the Angels, the Mets, and now the Red Sox. Can you name one team who does not have some type of doubt or question who their closer will be? The White Sox won in 2005 with a rookie named Bobby Jenks as the closer? Take last year: the Cardinals won with their regular closer off getting hip surgery. Play hard, get into the dance, get hot at the right time, and it's anybodies ball game.
All that said, I'm happy The Papelbot is back making like John Wayne at high noon. I'm also thrilled beyond words that Crazy Julian gets the 5th starter role. Number one, I think he'll do just fine. Number two, the entertainment index of a Sox game when he pitches just shot through the roof. You never know when he will punch someone, punch the dugout phone, start pointing at everyone like Manny on crack, and the random biting off of a finger cannot be dismissed entirely. Good times, good times.
On a personal note, me, Matty, and my brother-in-law Keith start the glamorous event known as "The International Home Furnishings Market" in High Point, NC tomorrow. Trust me, it sounds way more exciting than it is: it's basically a trade show where you have to wear a coat and tie and wait for bored buyers to come around and look at your stuff. Plus, High Point, except for the Market area's, is a hell hole waiting to be eaten up by the drug dealers that surround it. Matty is bringing his lap top, and something called "Wi-Fi". All I know is it means I can post without being plugged into everything. So I'll be checking in during the day more than usual, and the "Diary of the Furniture Market" is not beyond the realm of possibility. Down side is I get home late and with the Axis of Evil known as Ciera, Rakes, and Trot, I may not post as much as I'd like.
I'll do my best, but I'm just giving fair warning. Or cause for celebration. Whatever it is, I'll be back in the saddle by Opening Day.