"The Boston Red Sox can thank a member of the New York Yankees for one thing.
it wasn’t for a little encouragement from Yankee closer Mariano Rivera,
Jonathan Papelbon may not have developed into the type of pitcher
capable of finishing a World Series game with a save for the Red Sox.
a pretty good closer himself, Papelbon felt the need of getting a
little advice from Rivera during the 2006 All-Star Game.
though he plays for the Yankees, I sat down and talked with him for
about an hour after the All-Star Game was over and just tried to pick
his brain,” Papelbon said. “At the end of our conversation, he said,
‘Pap look, you’re going to follow me, but you are going to do it for a
different team and just always remember that closers have to have a
short term memory. You have to walk into the office the next day (after
you blow a save) and act like nothing happened.’ I’ve kind of taken
The article only gets part of the story. Mariano also offered the following tips:
"Believe in yourself."
"All we are is dust in the wind."
But the most interesting advice the sagacious veteran gave the young future star had to do with extra-performance issues.
Here are some choice quotes from the lecture to a young closer.
"One thing I regret not doing during all those championship seasons–and, Jonathan, remember that World Series championships are precious things–is enjoy the moment fully. I always wished I could let it all go. What I would give to be able to go back in time and during a post-World Series victory, run around the stadium in my underwear in front of thousands of screaming fans. And you know what, Jonathan? I would love if I could have performed an Irish jig while in my underwear, and, preferably, I’d want my underwear to be drenched in beer. I always loved Irish folk music, and, as a boy, I was struck by the sublime beauty of Irish jigs–it was as if the dancers were running in mid-air. Jonathan, please do me this favor. If the occasion arises, please strip down close to naked and do a glorious jig in front of the fans! And do jigs everywhere! Forever young you will remain…"
"Because of the whole "graceful" shtick I got going for me, I’m not allowed to be demonstrative on the mound. I have to be stoic. Oh, how I rue the day when I was stuck with that label! "Graceful". How boring! How constraining! Jonathan, do your nostrils flare? Ah, I see they do like an angry bull’s. And can you make a really mean-looking face? No, that’s a bit of a constipated look. Purse those lips. Ah yes! Now flair your nostrils. Oh, you look angry! Angry indeed! Now, make that your game face. When you’re facing a batter, make that scary mean face."
"Jonathan, you are from the South, and yet the lilt in your voice makes you sound like a Northern patrician. That won’t work with a working-class fan-base in love with the idea of authenticity. Now, Jonathan, I want you to countrify the way you speak. Lay it on thick. These Northerners have no idea what a true Bayou accent sounds like…Very good. But make it more rural."
"Towel snapping in the shower always lightens the mood after a loss."