CINCINNATI — The images of terror were shown on four TVs inside the visiting clubhouse at Great American Ballpark. A shirtless Jonathan Papelbon sat stunned. He stood up, pointed to a corner of one screen, and told Cliff Lee, "That's where I lived."
Papelbon played seven seasons for the Boston Red Sox. He called the corner of Boylston and Fairfield Streets home for a majority of that time. The second explosion Monday that rocked Boston happened yards away from his old building, which was above a steakhouse called Abe & Louie's.
The Phillies closer was visibly shaken.
"It's sad, man," Papelbon said. "Patriots' Day is a big thing is Boston. The Sox play at 11 o'clock. It's all ruined. Families are ruined, lives are ruined. For what? It's just sad."
For years, Papelbon was a walking symbol of Boston with his crazy antics, Dropkick Murphys soundtrack, and cigar-smoking celebrations. The city is ingrained in him.
Papelbon said he kept friends who still lived in his old neighborhood. Like most, he had difficulty reaching any Monday afternoon.
"Hopefully the city can rally and make things better, but it's going to be tough," he said. "It's hard to put in words."
Those Red Sox parades bounded down Boylston, just like the Boston Marathon, and nothing will ever be the same.
"I''m looking at it right now," Papelbon said, "and I'm like, 'Damn I used to live right there.'"
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.