|The creator of Cinco Ocho, Alex Cora, explains how Jonathan Papelbon found his alter ego||05.18.12 at 6:02 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Friday afternoon, Jonathan Papelbon was in the mood to offer some introductions — Philly media, meet Cinco Ocho.
Anxious about facing your old team? “Cinco don’t feel that kind of pressure. He’s got ice in his veins, man.”
How would Mr. Ocho like it if the game was in Boston? “He’d probably like it more. That’s just how he is, you know. It’s just, it’s what he does.”
How would the reception at Fenway Park be? “I think Pap would get a really good reception. Cinco, I don’t know what kind of reception he would get.”
That led to the obvious question from those not familiar with Papelbon’s alter ego …
“He came in 2007. Alex Cora brought him into existence, and he’s been a pain in my ass ever since,” Papelbon explained. “He just showed up, out of the blue. My skin started itching, it was crazy. … He kind of created the monster. It’s a long story, man.”
It’s a story that the recently retired Cora, when reached by phone, corroborated.
“It was during our fantasy league draft in ’07. He was so infatuated with [NFL wide receiver] Ocho Cino. He was dying to get Ocho Cinco. That’s all he talked about, Ocho Cinco, Ocho Cinco, Ocho Cinco,” explained Cora, who played with Papelbon from 2006-08. “So I started calling him Cinco Ocho. That’s his alter ego, we all know that. The story goes something like that.
“He ran away with it. I read something where he said, ‘Cinco’s always ready.’ Now he’s only Cinco. What a clown. The way he is, when he gets ready for the game it’s something else. We’re joking about it, but he loves it. Cinco Ocho the guy who is pitching.”
Cora went on to sum it up this way: “Cinco Ohco is the closer of the Phillies, not Jonathan Papelbon. He’s such a goofy guy and such a good person, but as soon as the game starts …. Cinco Ocho lasts until the cold tub after the game. Once he cools down he becomes Jonathan Papelbon.”
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