WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper #34 celebrate following the Nationals 2-0 win over the Minnesota Twins at Nationals Park on April 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

by John Kincade

It’s really easy to dislike Jonathan Papelbon if you’re a Phillies fan. Let’s be honest, it’s easy to dislike him even if you aren’t a Phillies fan as many of his former MLB teammates can attest. Papelbon has created a brand of controversy and discord. He thrives on it. He desires the negative attention he received. Wearing a black hat is very much his desire. Even knowing all that his latest comments are worth at least considering at face value. We discussed him on this morning’s edition of The John Kincade Show.

Papelbon thinks the Phillies have good pitching but are missing a serious component of a winner, leadership. I do find it ironic that a guy like Papelbon is spouting off about a lack of leadership. He embodied that. A hot head, not known for being good with younger players and always willing to spout off on whatever grievance he had that week. I would suggest that he doesn’t know what a veteran leader is supposed to be.

He speaks to chaos in the Phillies organization. Sorry, I’m not seeing that either. He is somehow criticizing them firing Joe Girardi with obviously no awareness of how everything about the team seems to have changed since the arrival of Rob Thomson. He refers to the team as “sh**show”. At (49-43) and currently in a wildcard position despite losing Segura, Harper and 2 starting pitchers I’d argue this team could be considered over achievers.

Philadelphia Phillies 2022 Draft Tracker

He chose to then resume his personal attacks on Bryce Harper. These two have a history. I can’t speak to how much blame each of them share in the turmoil that was created between them. I do know that his questions about the Phillies lack of leadership seem to be pointing a finger directly at Harper. It’s not the first time Bryce has had that ability questioned. Wearing Phanatic shoes and pandering to the fan base doesn’t count as leadership, but Bryce certainly leads by example. He works hard, shows up to play and is a reigning MVP. I’d rather have a team with Papelbon off it and Harper on it anytime. I believe that most fans would agree with me.

I’m not going to discount everything that Papelbon says about the Phillies, but it certainly feels like he is talking about the team from a few years back. Right now they embody a far more positive vibe, have created some local buzz and appear to be in the thick of the post season race to stay. It’s easy to look at a logo and remember how bad things have been, but it takes more effort to actually identify how things have changed.

The Phillies post-Papelbon era was filled with struggles but has turned a corner. Will it lead to a post season berth? Who knows? Will it feel really good to have Papelbon look dumb? Oh yeah, it sure would.