The fireballing closer now wonders what he was thinking when he used to dream about being the next Roger Clemens. The urge to start is completely out of Jonathan Papelbon's system, who is a closer to the core. Now all he wants is to be the next Mariano Rivera. Yes, in case you haven't gathered by now, Papelbon does not set his sights low.
Perhaps that's why he's emerged into maybe the most dominant closer in the game.
Papelbon is also one of the most colorful players on the Red Sox. Consider that after the team clinched the American League East title the night of Sept. 28, Papelbon went to the Fenway Park mound and led a rousing rendition of the Riverdance. This, while wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts. Papelbon upgraded to uniform pants during the AL Championship Series clinch party.
And during those clinch celebrations, Papelbon takes no prisoners when it comes to spraying champagne over someone. If you are a player, coach, manager, general manager, owner or even a media member, you must beware of Papelbon in such situations.
Papelbon is a self-proclaimed country boy who loves nothing more in the offseason than a long day of hunting.
He has two brothers who are also in professional baseball. Jeremy, a left-handed starter, is in the Cubs' farm system. Josh is a side-winder working his way up in the Boston farm system, hoping to one day become teammates with his big brother. The athletic genes come from Papelbon's mother, Sheila, who played softball at Louisiana State University.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.