Jonathan Papelbon was a high-level Yankees troll during his time with the Red Sox. Timing prevented him from reaching all-time status — his rookie season was a year after Boston broke the curse — but he certainly held his own. And real recognizes real, it turns out.
The controversial former All-Star closer made headlines Tuesday by trashing pretty much everyone in Philadelphia during an interview with Betway Insider. But he also took time to reminisce about his days pitching in the Bronx.
“I think my biggest memory of old Yankee Stadium was the simple fact that I thought, when I was going into New York, that all these multimillionaires were going to be at the games, big high-class games, and I show up and it’s the exact opposite,” Papelbon said.
“This was back when they didn’t have camera phones, so people were taking batteries out of their actual phones and throwing them at me, cussing the daylights out of me. But of course, I’d cuss back at them and let them know what I thought about their mom. I probably egged them on a little bit, but I enjoyed it.”
Papelbon was with the Red Sox from 2005-11. The iPhone came out in 2007. So there were plenty of flip phones in the stands surrounding the visiting bullpen back then.
“Those games were way more intense,” Papelbon said. “Some of these players these days want to act like it’s not, well that’s bullshit. It is. As a player, you try to think of it just as another game, but you know deep down it’s not.
“Man, I loved it. I loved going into old Yankee Stadium, and new Yankee Stadium, too, and just hearing the fans yell at me, and cussing me all the time. I’d cuss back at them, and we’d have a good time. I think the Yankee fans really liked me, to be totally honest with you. It was a love-hate relationship. Kind of like Mariano (Rivera) was to the Red Sox fans. They hated him, but they had to respect him.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]