What a dreadful weekend for our teams against those Washington bullies. The Capitals skittered a 100-foot clearing shot past Steve Mason Saturday night. The Nats outscored the Phils 17-2 in two games, as Bryce Harper homers kept bouncing around Ashburn Alley.
Disheartening. We needed a win. Revenge had to be exacted. Thankfully, it arrived Sunday afternoon in the form of Jonathan Papelbon.
The whining, redneck loudmouth — once signed by Ruben Amaro to an obscene five-year, $63 million contract — has become our personal punching bag since the Phils dumped him on Washington last summer. In four appearances against the Phils, he’s 1-2 with a lusty 12.27 ERA.
“They’re just another team to me,” Paps sneered after a Freddy Galvis double beat him in the 10th inning Sunday. And then, in the “my dad can beat up your dad” vein, he added, “We’re in first place and we won the (bleeping) series, man. You know?”
Yeah, we know. We derive little joy being the rebuilding team that gets beat upon. Phils fans have suffered through watching their three primary corner OFs hit a combined .125 with 0 HRS and 2 RBIs through 13 games. Mostly, we crane our necks toward Reading and Lehigh, waiting for reinforcements to arrive.
So give us those rare moments of joy when an enemy of the state — a blabbermouth who never jibed with teammates nor understood our culture — comes back to Citizens Bank Park for humiliation. Allow us to laugh at the fool on the hill.
Despite the reputation, our town has been magnanimous toward former locals making a return. We cheered McNabb at the Linc, even through his cringe-inducing “No. 5 will always love you” onanism. Pat Burrell and Jim Thome got standing ovations, for Pete’s sake. Flyer fans are appreciative of anyone who formerly bled for the black-and-orange. Unless, of course, his name happens to be Dan Carcillo.
But when the sins of the Ex warrant it, we can be leather lunged. So Desean Jackson and Terrell Owens had to hear for their big fat slobbering mouths. Scott Rolen and Billy Wagner drew our scorn. Jayson Werth too, although, to be honest I never understood what his crime was against our fan base.
With Papelbon, there is no gray area. His play for the Phils over three-plus seasons was fine. Still, he was a vastly overpaid disruptive force who declined to enter games unless he felt perfect. He undermined managers and coaches, tangled with gods like Chase Utley and loudly declared “I didn’t sign up for this,” after finishing second in baseball in blown saves in 2013.
Philadelphians should feel no shame about heckling former players, particularly when they come this loathsome. Being a Phillies fan right now is like being the guy who once had the beautiful girlfriend, only to get ditched.
If she walks by and falls in the mud, you have every reason to laugh.