Jonathan Papelbon: Uncomfortable in crowds ‘in this day and age’ — and ‘Obama wants to take our guns’

David Brown
Big League Stew

The 700 Level took note of comments made Tuesday by Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. His take: Big crowds make him nervous and Big Government wants our guns.

Papelbon used to pitch for the Red Sox of course, and even said he lived in a Copley Square apartment above where one of the bombs exploded. The act of terrorism in his former city obviously leaves him shaken, but he also sounds like a person who already was made uncomfortable by working in front of large crowds of mostly anonymous people. The 700 Level writes:

The guy who looks like he isn't scared of anything when he's on the pitcher's mound brought up the Phillies' Opening Day pregame festivities where the entire team, led by Charlie Manuel and the Phillie Phanatic, walk into Citizens Bank Park through Ashburn Alley and down the outfield stands amid crowds of fans before reaching the field.

"I don't feel comfortable doing that," Papelbon said. "I really, truly don't. In today's day and age, it's gotten so crazy… everything. All this stuff going on. Shoot, man, Obama wants to take our guns from us and everything. You got this kind of stuff going on. It's a little bit insane for me. I don't really know how to take it."

I don't blame Papelbon for having nerves wading through big crowds. Similar thoughts have crossed my mind, about what some rogue person might do, even removing what happened in Boston from the equation. Still, there's a line between reasonable concern and unwarranted paranoia — and Papelbon has crossed it.

The same president who Papelbon criticizes (out of left field) for wanting to "take our guns," gets close to regular people all of the time, presumably putting himself in danger, regardless of the Secret Service presence. And he remains in public because the alternative, to stay locked up in the White House or something, is impractical. The same goes for ballplayers. There's no point in playing Major League Baseball if you don't do it in a stadium in front of people. And, no, that wasn't meant to be a Miami Marlins joke.

Not to be trite, but Papelbon is letting the terrorists win by making comments like this. You can't let yourself become too afraid to live your life. Get out there and pitch, Paps, and we'll keep coming to the games (hopefully unarmed — even you, Luke Scott).

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