BOSTON (CBS) — Jonathan Papelbon only knows one way do things. Any time the world has ever seen him do anything, he’s done it at full speed, with max effort.
The former closer’s first pitch on a chilly Monday night at Fenway Park was no exception.
Papelbon, the Red Sox’ closer from 2006-11, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the ALCS between the Red Sox and Astros. But Papelbon being Papelbon, there was nothing ceremonial about it.
The 40-year-old threw his last MLB pitch in 2016, and he seemed to savor this moment back on the Fenway mound.
The right-hander looked in for his sign, came to the set, and reared back and gave it all he had, firing his pitch into the dirt.
Jonathan Papelbon delivers the first pitch as “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” plays at Fenway. pic.twitter.com/VIkiyVoqd6
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 19, 2021
The video board out in left-center field gave Papelbon credit for a 91 mph fastball on the pitch.
Jonathan Papelbon just threw a 91mph fastball in for a ceremonial first pitch, at least according to the Jumbotron pic.twitter.com/BVZ8MXCQ39
— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) October 19, 2021
That pitch came after Papelbon opted to run all the way in from center field instead of the standard walk from the dugout.
— Chris Gordy (@ChrisGordy) October 19, 2021
Papelbon, who ranks 10th all time in saves with 368, walked away from the game five years ago. He clearly still has a love for the game.
During the NESN pregame show, Papelbon said he’d be chucking one into the dirt if Jason Varitek — the former catcher who’s now the team’s game planning coordinator — was behind the plate.
"If Varitek [catches] I'll probably throw it in the dirt and make him block it"
— NESN (@NESN) October 18, 2021
Papelbon ended up getting Kevin Plawecki instead of Varitek, but still made the catcher do a little work.
With Papelbon, we’d expect nothing less.