Pap leaves Boston in the rear-view mirror

Pap leaves Boston in the rear-view mirror
November 14, 2011, 9:34 pm
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Jonathan Papelbon made it very clear he's happy to be in Philadelphia.

Sorry to be leaving Boston? That wasn't nearly as evident.

The Phillies' new closer said virtually nothing about the Red Sox -- good, bad or indifferent -- despite being given multiple opportunities to do so in his introductory press conference Monday as a member of the Phils. If he was at all affected at no longer being with the only team he's ever played for, he hid it perfectly.

But he sure dropped some hints.

"I'm loyal to those who are loyal to me," he said in explaining why he signed so quickly with the Phillies, adding it was "evident to me how classy this organization is."

"The Phillies showed that they were interested in me and you know I wanted to make this decision quick and get it over with," he said. "I didn't want to sit there and debate whether I should go back to Boston. The Phillies showed they wanted me and showed me the respect, and I showed them the respect back."

Loyalty. Respect. Class. All words Papelbon used to describe the Phillies. All words he failed to use to describe the Red Sox.

"It didn't really boil down to going back to the Red Sox," he said. "I knew that these guys wanted me and I made my decision right then and there."

New Sox general manager Ben Cherington said last week that the team hadn't made an offer to Papelbon, which he confirmed Monday.

"There were no talks with the Red Sox as far as getting something done and both of us agreeing on," he said. "There were talks, but I don't think that anything evolved."

Stunning by its absence was any reference, of any kind, to the Sox. No goodbyes to anyone. (When asked if the departures of general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona had any effect on his decision, he dismissed it by saying: "That's part of the nature of this game. Players come and go every year, coaches come and go every year.") No perfunctory, "I had a great seven years there". Nothing about the fans . . . except to obliquely compare Phillies fans to Red Sox fans when talking about how much he'll enjoy the atmosphere in Philadelphia. It's as if he's arriving in Philly from nowhere, with no past to reference and no memories he'll cherish.

He's gone. And it doesn't sound like he'll miss anything he left behind . . . including the song ('I'm Shipping Up To Boston' by the Dropkick Murphys) that greeted him whenever he entered a game at Fenway Park.

"Yes," he said with a smile, "I will change my entrance song for sure."