Papelbon Talks (Lack of) Leadership

Jonathan PapelbonJonathan Papelbon is an interesting guy to say the least. I mean, the guy talks about himself like he has a split personality (aka Cinco Ocho).

He made an interesting comment the other day to The Morning Call, when he said the Phillies lacked leadership in the clubhouse last season. He discussed that lack of leadership a little further this morning. Here is what he said:

Q: You said this team didn’t show any leadership last season. That’s accurate?
A: I don’t say anything that’s not accurate.

Q: What does that mean?
A: I hope you guys aren’t saying it’s one particular person in general because I put myself in that category. I put myself in that category that I don’t feel like I took on certain leadership as much as I could have with the guys in the bullpen. And I intend to make that change this year. I hope that other guys on this team feel the same way as I do. Granted, we did have a lot of injuries and stuff like that. And that does affect how leadership plays a part with teams. Leadership takes the form of many different things and many different players can lead in different ways. I just don’t think there was many situations last year where guys were, either like myself on the team for the first year, guys weren’t able to be there every day because of injuries, all different sorts of things came into play. Hopefully, this year that’ll change. And I think it will.

Q: Was it a bad clubhouse last year?
A: No, no, no, no. No, not at all. It was just a clubhouse that didn’t have an identity. And a clubhouse that didn’t have leadership, I felt like. And that’s not to put the blame on any one person or any one coach. That’s just the way it was. It’s just the way things unfolded. I’ve been on plenty of teams that way. I said this, too. I was really, really happy the way the season ended and some of the leadership that started to emerge and some of the team’s identity that started to emerge. I said I believe if we can take that same team identity we had at the end of the season and carry that into the spring and carry that into the season, along with some of the leadership we had at the end of the month, guys taking charge, if we can carry that into the season – even though there was an offseason in between – just because there was an offseason it doesn’t mean that team’s identity and leadership can’t carry into the next year. Because it can. And that’s really all I meant by that.

Q: Is having Utley, Howard and Halladay in the clubhouse the entire year going to help?
A: Well yeah, of course they’re key figures. Everybody on this team can be a key figure. You’re sitting here trying to pick out one guy, or a guy here, or a guy in the lineup or a starter or a closer. That’s just not the way it is. It’s different. Doc’s personality is different than mine. He’s going to lead differently than me. Ryan’s personality is different. Chase’s is different. Everybody takes a certain little part of the equation and makes that equation a success.

Q: So what was missing? A vocal leader? Something else?
A: It was an all-around leadership void from A to Z. From being a vocal leader to being an off-the-field leader to being an on-the-field leader to everything. You can’t just point your finger at what type of leadership was missing. It was the whole part of the equation. Our team identity is formed by that leadership.

Q: Do you like this clubhouse?
A: Yeah. (Shoot) yeah. I love this clubhouse. I liked this clubhouse when I was in Boston and played against it. I admired what I saw on the field. That was a big reason why I came here. I don’t think I’m speaking anything that is a big surprise by any means. We were missing a few things and injuries got in the way. It’s amazing when you take injuries, it’s a domino effect. When you don’t have your 25 guys, it can domino effect into so many different things.

Q: Are you still happy with your decision to sign here?
A: (Shoot) yeah, man. I think this year, I’ve also said this, as far as the bullpen goes I feel like I lacked a lot of leadership last year, when I could have stepped up and done things different to kind of lead them. Maybe the bumps and the bruises wouldn’t have been so bad with the bullpen. But that’s all hindsight. I’m extremely happy with my decision to play here, I love this group of guys. The fact that, the way this group came together the last month of the season, it was an awesome sight to see. If we can take that into the season this year, it will be great. We have a special, special group here. We truly do. And we have special leaders here. If we can get the most out of our team and our bullpen and our starting staff, I think that we have the chance to do some special things this year. I think we have the chance to be the best bullpen, I think we have the chance to be the best starting staff and lineup. I think we have a chance to win the World Series. I really, truly do. And I’m not just saying that. I think we have a really good shot at doing that.

My take? Utley, Howard and Halladay are three of the biggest leaders in that clubhouse and they missed a lot of time last season. That hurt a lot. But if they’re healthy, I don’t think this will be a big deal in 2013.


If I had a dollar for every time he said leadership, I’d be richer than he is. Especially in regards to leadership.

I like this Papelbon guy. Great comments.

The Phillies were a mess last year. Howard and Utley were out, replaced by journeymen and a good-field, no-hit rookie. Hunter Pence was in just his 2nd year with the Phils and couldn’t handle the pressure of needing to delver in the big guns’ absence. Victorino and Rollins couldn’t get it going. The bullpen was largely a disaster. When everyone is struggling and the rtea is going nowhere, hard to see leadership emerge.

Zo I have to say, I love your work. But why does it look like a 12 year-old girl designed the Blogs layout? MLB handcuffing you?

It’s a WordPress theme affiliated with I believe. I saw it when I was looking for one.

Doesn’t matter if it’s pretty, as long as its good baseball prose. At least I don’t care about all the bells and whistles, which, if you looked at my WordPress blog (by clicking on my username) you would see what I’m talking about. Haha

Leadership, chemistry, etc. are to ballplayers what patriotism is to politicians, the last refuge of scoundrels. How about just looking at the size of the paycheck and going out and earning it.

This made me lose respect for Papelbon. If you have a problem, address it in the clubhouse. Don’t go whining to the press! If I were his teammate, I’d never trust him again. Didn’t see him lead the bullpen to great success.

I’ll give him a pass, Mary Pat. He admits there was more he personally could have done. But he’s right, they all panicked and, in the end, they just weren’t good enough. Everybody has injuries, so you are only going to be as good as your bench, and the Phillies bench sucked.

Rollins even agreed with him. I saw the interview, it really wasn’t bad. He was just being his own candid self, seemingly.

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