It can be a very difficult adjustment when an athlete leaves the city he began his career in for a new venue. Other times, it can be a breeze.
Jonathan Papelbon's move was the easy kind after he left the Red Sox as a free agent in the offseason to become the new closer for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Papelbon said that, as he toured his new city, he felt as if he was in a brand-new environment.
"Philadelphia has a cool feel to it, man,'' Papelbon said. "It's a vibe that the city produces. It makes you feel like you are in Paris. I've never been to Paris, but I've seen it in a lot of movies. I think [Philadelphia] is going to be a great place to live."
While Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love, it hardly has the culture and environment of Paris. And this is more than a vacation for the right-handed pitcher, who signed a $50 million contract through 2015 with the Phillies.
Papelbon also compared his new city to Boston.
"When I walk down the street [in Philadelphia], everyone is nice. They say hi, and then they let you do your business," Papelbon said. "In the other city, the people get up in your face a lot more and want to talk about baseball, the team and how you are going to do. It's more easy-going in Philadelphia.''
The "other city," where Papelbon won a World Series in 2007, is Boston. Red Sox fans saw Papelbon at his best in Boston, where he became the team's career leader in saves. But the Red Sox also saw him at his worst, when Papelbon blew a save against the Baltimore Orioles to prevent the Red Sox from making the 2011 playoffs. Papelbon was also on the mound when the Angels swept Boston from the 2010 playoffs.
Papelbon has seen success in Philadelphia this season. He has 10 saves in 15 appearances, good for second best in the National League. As for playing the "other city"? The Red Sox will travel to Philadelphia for a three-game series against the Phillies beginning Friday, May 18.
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