friday morning news round-upFrom The Toronto Star, from an article mostly about Barry Bonds:
WHAT IF HE'D LOST? That was truly one beaut of a Mohawk haircut that Boston's hot new closer, Jonathan Papelbon, on a bet, turned up with at the Rogers Centre last Saturday. There was the normal (for a Mohawk) thick stripe running across the crest of the skull, but then it branched off into these four fishhook-like tails that snaked to the base of his head. One Boston scribe wrote that it "could only be described as disturbing."
For a character known to give himself hot foots and squish shaving-cream in his own face, this might not be all so surprising. Nor might his explanation: "Unfortunately, I won the bet."
True. Papelbon had this friendly wager with young first baseman Kevin Youkilis, that he'd have a run of 10 scoreless innings in April before Youkilis could muster five home runs with a .350 average. Papelbon ran his season-opening streak to 10 1/3 frames against the Jays on Friday night and, by the next morning, thanks to some inspiration from Charlie Sheen's Rick (Wild Thing) Vaughn in Major League and the spectacular talents of bullpen catcher Jason LaRoque, had paid up.
"You ain't leaving it like that," said fellow reliever Julian Tavarez. "Malo, mucho malo (bad, very bad)."
"Kind of suits his character," added ex-closer Keith Foulke.
"This ain't no biggie," said Papelbon.
Papelbon is the current American League leader in SAVES:
Papelbon, Boston, 9; FrRodriguez, Los Angeles, 8; Ray, Baltimore, 6; Jenks, Chicago, 6; Street, Oakland, 4; Rodney, Detroit, 4; Miceli, Tampa Bay, 4; Wickman, Cleveland, 4.
Also of note, Schilling is leading in strikeouts.
Interesting article on winning the fickle and confusing hearts of Sox fans, originally from the The Providence Journal:
Papelbon is 6-4, 230 pounds, and both fearless and fearsome. He throws bullets and has unerring aim. After getting his ninth save in the Red Sox’ 8-6 win at Cleveland Tuesday night, Papelbon has now made 11 appearances in relief without giving up a run. He’d struck out 10 in 12 1/3 innings while walking only two.
He has talent. He has confidence. He has charisma. If he happens to have a bad outing, as he inevitably will, it will be dismissed as an aberration. Instead of giving him grief, Red Sox Nation will be clamoring to give him the ball again as soon as possible.
While previewing the Sox/Yanks, the MSNBC expert tells us what we already know:
But shifting rookie Jonathan Papelbon has been a stroke of genius. The hard-throwing, 25-year-old rookie converted his first nine save opportunities, and didn’t allow a run in 12.1 innings over his first 11 appearances.
And of course, an update on the Papel-hawk, from the ever-trusty Boston Globe:
Jonathan Papelbon has now had his mohawk cleaned up twice in a week (it was ''crooked," in his estimation). But he doesn't intend to shave it off. ''I'll keep it for a little while, see how it goes," he said. Said Francona: ''I think he might enjoy it a little more than he should." Would that haircut be against Yankee code? ''That might be against our code," Francona said, laughing, ''and we don't even have a code." . . .