Speaking yesterday to Mandy Housenick of the Allentown Morning Call, Jonathan Papelbon gave us our first real memorable quote – for better or worse – of the 2013 season:
“Since I've been here I haven't seen any leadership.”
“Every good team that I've been a part of has had a good core group of veterans and an influx of a good group of young guys and I think that's a recipe for success. But at the same time, that doesn't mean we're going to have success. In my opinion, this team has way more to lose than to prove. I think a lot of guys on this team have proved a lot. But I think this year if we don't go out and do what we're capable [of] and supposed to do, then we have a lot more to lose.”
Well, he’s not wrong.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Papelbon signing, but he surprised me last year. He was one of the few guys on the team you could count on to do his job, and do it well. His intensity wasn’t just some shtick (what it seemed like in Boston). Rather, it was a genuine disdain for losing not winning (those things are different). Without being too cliché, he seemed to take great pride in his craft. But while there are many things for which you can criticize the (2012) Phillies – chasing bad balls, poor fielding, bad bullpen – leadership, on a team with Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay et. al, isn’t on the top of most people's lists.
Papelbon didn’t put all of the blame on others, however:
“I felt like I could have been a little bit better leader than what I was, and I held back at some times. Hindsight's 20-20.”
Good stuff from Housenick, who has more quotes on the matter from Halladay and Charlie Manuel.