Interleague play. It used to be an almost annual chance for Red Sox fans to invade Citizens Bank Park, with “Youk” chants galore. Those days are long gone.
When Boston comes to town this weekend for a three-game set, the stands will be packed with Phillies fans. The ballpark has sold out 238 straight games, including the postseason. The Sox-Phillies rivalry, while tame, is usually one of the better AL-NL ones.
Adding intrigue is Jonathan Papelbon. The closer swapped teams this offseason, trading in his Red Sox jersey for a Phillies one, after inking a $50 million deal. On Opening Day, Papelbon said that earning his first save in a non-Boston uniform wasn’t weird.
But how about earning one against his former mates?
“It won’t be weird. It might be a little weird for Pap, but it won’t be weird for Cinco,” Papelbon told Boston’s WEEI radio. “Cinco is like a great white, when he smells blood he attacks.”
Cinco, of course, is short for Cinco Ocho. That’s Papelbon’s alter ego. While the experience of pitching against the Red Sox didn’t appear to bother Papelbon, he did spew some venom at Boston’s training staff.
“The previous trainer tried to tell me that he knew everything about me,” he told WEEI. “It’s just not the case. I know myself. I knew how to get through a 162-game season. A trainer doesn’t know how to do that.”