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The creator of Cinco Ocho, Alex Cora, explains how Jonathan Papelbon found his alter ego

05.18.12 at 6:02 pm ET
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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.”

Read More: Alex Cora, cinco ocho, Jonathan Papelbon,
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