NEW YORK — Jonathan Papelbon spent much of the 50-minute long media interview session with the AL All-Stars answering questions about who he thought should close tomorrow night’s game.
He said that he’d love to close the game — he wouldn’t be who he is if he didn’t feel that way — but that he understood it would not be an easy call, since the game is in Yankee Stadium and Mariano Rivera is not only a hometown favorite, but maybe the greatest closer in the game. Papelbon said he’d talked it over with manager Terry Francona a couple of days ago, but that Francona had not made a final decision.
But after the interview sessions were over, Papelbon pulled a reporter aside outside of the hotel ballroom in the Grand Hyatt and said that he had something more to say.
Papelbon took the reporter’s tape recorder, held it to his mouth like a microphone, and said: “This is Jonathan Papelbon, closer of the Boston Red Sox. Mariano Rivera will be closing the 2008 All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium.
“I’m making a statement right now, saying I don’t want it, I want him to have it. I said all that earlier, but that’s the way I feel about it.”