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Jonathan Papelbon Not Always Comfortable Playing in Front of Large Crowds

Apr 17, 2013, 4:55 AM EDT

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Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was one of the Philadelphia athletes shocked by the awful events at the Boston Marathon this week who spoke out. He told beat writers on Monday that at one point when pitching for the Red Sox he lived right above the location where one of the bombs went off.

Papelbon spoke on the matter again on Tuesday, this time with the Boston media prior to the Phils game against the Reds in Cincinnati. He was asked if he feels safe as a professional athlete performing in front of large crowds.

His answer may surprise.

The guy who looks like he isn’t scared of anything when he’s on the pitcher’s mound brought up the Phillies’ Opening Day pregame festivities where the entire team, led by Charlie Manuel and the Phillie Phanatic, walk into Citizens Bank Park through Ashburn Alley and down the outfield stands amid crowds of fans before reaching the field.

“I don’t feel comfortable doing that,” Papelbon said. “I really, truly don’t. In today’s day and age, it’s gotten so crazy… everything. All this stuff going on. Shoot, man, Obama wants to take our guns from us and everything. You got this kind of stuff going on. It’s a little bit insane for me. I don’t really know how to take it.”

The Obama line seems a bit unrelated and curious. Would he feel more comfortable if fans had guns inside ball parks? Not sure what he was going for there.

Regardless, safety in all sorts of public environments is once again going to come to the forefront of many conversations. Ball parks never entered my mind as somewhere to worry about, but I’ve also never had 40,000 eyeballs all directed on my every movement.

Jonathan Papelbon clearly doesn’t feel as comfortable at work as the rest of us.

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Here’s Papelbon on the disbelief that went through his head when first hearing about the tragedy on Monday.