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Sports

Jonathan Papelbon backs off criticism of Boston fans

Jonathan Papelbon moved to the Phillies over the winter.

Charles Krupa/AP

Jonathan Papelbon moved to the Phillies over the winter.

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon backed off his criticism of Boston baseball fans on Monday.

Papelbon said he meant no harm and didn’t mean to rip Boston fans when he said on Philadelphia radio station 94-WIP earlier in spring training that the difference between Boston and Philadelphia is, “the Boston fans are a little bit more hysterical when it comes to the game of baseball. The Philly fans tend to know the game a little better, being in the National League, you know, the way the game is played.”

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“I wasn’t trying to offend nobody, man,” said Papelbon, who signed a 4-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies. “I was just calling a spade a spade. I’ve been in the bullpen down there many a times in Boston to know this (fan) don’t have a clue what he’s talking about. It happens in Philadelphia, too. I’ve been in Philadelphia’s bullpen. I was just simply saying that, because the American League is different than the National League, there’s a little more thought process that goes along with that.

He said, “I knew it was going to be written that way” but he claims that’s not the way he meant it the way it came out.

He added, “I don’t really care. That fans who know me in Boston know I’m not going to start knocking Boston. I was just making a statement NL vs. AL.”

Papelbon said he loved his time in Boston and said, “I had a phenomenal run there.”

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