This is the second in a series of outtakes from interviews done for Feeding the Monster, to be published on July 11 by Simon & Schuster. This interview with Jonathan Papelbon was conducted in the Red Sox clubhouse on September 6, 2005. This year, Papelbon is 1-1 with an American League-leading 20 saves and a 0.28 ERA.
On the differences between the minors and the bigs: Well for me, I knew what I had going at the minor-league level and I knew I was ready to come to the big-league level. But itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a matter of really learning how the big-league level works and at the same time, coming here and helping to compete to win the pennant race. Thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s what itâ€šÃ„Ã´s all about. Because up here, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s all about winning. In the minor leagues, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s all about development, production, stuff like that. Up here, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s all about winning, period. Thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s what Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m here to do, and thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s what Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ve come to realize: thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s all Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m here to do.
On the intensity of playing with the Red Sox: No, I wouldnâ€šÃ„Ã´t say itâ€šÃ„Ã´s been overwhelming at all. The game hasnâ€šÃ„Ã´t been overwhelming. The game hasnâ€šÃ„Ã´t changed on me a whole lot. I think the thing that has changed is getting used to the travelingâ€šÃ„Ã®you know, checking your bags with the bell captain, which Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ve never done before. Just things like that, things outside the game like getting to the field. When we were flying from Kansas City, I didnâ€šÃ„Ã´t know to leave my bags, so I took them with me to the park thinking Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m going to put them on the flight. I didnâ€šÃ„Ã´t realize the bell captain takes them. And everyone’s like, “This is is big-leagues, you donâ€šÃ„Ã´t carry your bags here! If somebody sees you carrying your bags they think you work for the team.” That was pretty much the moment where I was like, “All right. I’m really here.”
On playing in Boston: I love it. I love playing here, I love the atmosphere. I grew up playing college ball in this type of atmosphere where youâ€šÃ„Ã´re expected to win, and I thrive off of it. And right now, Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m just riding the wave and doing everything I possibly can to help the team.