To: Jonathan Papelbon
CC: Daniel Bard
I just wanted to take this time to thank you for all the things you’ve done for us over the years. The saves. The fist-pumping. The dancing. The World Series. It’s really been great.
But it’s time to say goodbye.
We’ve had some fun times together. You’ve been the most exciting closer I’ve ever had the fortune of seeing. Keith Foulke got us that 2004 ring, but he didn’t have the fire you have.
(dabs eyes with tissue)
I told myself I wasn’t gonna cry.
Remember when they tried to make you a starter? That was funny.
Some people will say it’s too soon. Only four seasons and change. That’s not enough time, they’ll say. He deserves more than that, they’ll say. Have a heart, they’ll say.
Well, I’ll tell them I had a heart; until you broke it.
You’ve had your moment in the sun. You got your ring. You broke Bob Stanley’s saves record. You probably nailed Heidi Watney. What more could a closer ask for?
It’s clear that you’ve lost that special something. That extra oomph that blew batters away at the end of the night. Those fireball strikes that sent everybody home with a smile on their face. You’re loading bases; giving up runs; walking batters you normally used to smoke.
I don’t know if you were playing injured this year or if that dominance has just passed you by, but something has seriously changed and there’s no going back. I wish that there was another way. I just don’t think it would feel right to see you go out there as the setup man or come out in long relief. You’re better than that.
It’s time for us to move on. It’s time for you to go to the National League and get your swagger back. I hear the Braves could use a new late-inning guy. What about the Marlins? Miami could be fun. They’re getting a new stadium! How ‘bout the Cubs? The joy you brought us in 2007? Multiply that times a kajillion and you’ll come close to what you’d give Chicago if you carried them to the Big Show. There are a million opportunities out there for you, a million fish in the sea. I’m just afraid Boston isn’t one of those fish anymore.
It’s not you. It’s us. We’re a fickle city. A fickle region. A fickle people. It’s not to say we don’t appreciate what you’ve done in the past. We’re just afraid of what you’d do in the future. We’re gonna miss you, Jon.
Can we dance to “Shipping Up To Boston” one more time before you go?
No? Okay, that’s cool. I understand.
I’ll remember the Ricky Vaughn haircut. The overenthusiasm. The 2006 domination. Games Two and Four of the 2007 World Series. We won’t forget you, Jon. We promise.
Hey, what’s your brother Jeremy doing these days?
A “Dear Jon” Letter
To: Jonathan Papelbon