Dan's latest mancrush is on Jonathan Papelbon, who according to The CHB is Dick Radatz all over again, writing: "The Sox haven't had a young closer like this since Dick Radatz." Similarly, on April 6, he wrote: [Papelbon] looked like Dick Radatz." Of course, Shaughnessy compares every hard-throwing Sox reliever with The Monster, so take that with the provebial grain of salt.
But Dan's on a roll, enjoying his new love so much he even goes to former arch enemy Curt Schilling for a quote. "This is a huge advantage for a young guy," said Schill. (Last year, he was “blowhard Curt Schilling.” Now that he’s 3-0, he’s “Schill.”) "Young guy." Wonder if, as he dutifully copied down the quotes, Dan realized that yesterday’s starter, Josh Beckett, is 25 and has already pitched 630 innings in the majors.
Taking no. 38’s place as the new Devil is Keith Foulke, who apparently has made the unique mistake of getting injured: “Terry Francona, who made the bold (and now so obvious) switch from Keith Foulke to Papelbon on the night of the third game of the season in Texas.” So obvious, eh? This is Foulke’s line through 12 games: five appearances, six innings pitched, four hits allowed, four strikeouts, one walk, and two runs allowed. That's pretty good, especially for a guy who had surgery on both legs in the past year.
But Papelbon has to stay where he is, Dan says, claiming he is "too valuable" in the bullpen, naturally leaving the reader to wonder why the ninth inning is more important than the eight that precede it, and how the 200 or so innings he would likely throw as a starter are less important than the 70 or so he might pitch in relief (see aforementioned Beckett comment).
It's because Know-nothings like Shaughnessy hate to have their age-old notions challenged. Guys who throw 95 are closers. Guys who throw 89 are not. Here's what he wrote Dec. 30, 2003, after the Sox signed Foulke:
People in the A's front office think Keith Foulke made a mistake coming to Boston. Maybe that's sour grapes, but some fear he won't react well to the fallout that comes when a Sox closer blows a save against the Yankees. It takes a specific mentality (think Dennis Eckersley), and some of the A's believe Foulke is too sensitive. I tend to agree ....The Globe will never run a correction on any of that, but we know how wrong he was.