In the hours after the Washington Nationals announced the release of closer Jonathan Papelbon, fans took to the internet to mourn the departure of the fiery closer his teammates nicknamed the D.C. Strangler.
Here are just a few of the passionate outpourings gathered from the far reaches of the internet:
@masnKerr @JWerthsBeard Part of me gets all choked up that Papelbon is no longer a Nat... yeah, I went there.— Bill Myers (@WoMyers63) August 14, 2016
I've tripped & fallen into a well of sad Jonathan Papelbon pictures & I'm not sure I wanna be pulled out soon. Just throw down some dinner.— Greg Paone (@gpaone121) August 13, 2016
The Baseball Gods have accepted our sacrifice of Jonathan Papelbon and gifted Reynaldo with a good outing. We are forever grateful.— MLB Insider Captain (@texanthony115) August 14, 2016
One fan was not yet ready to grieve and instead set himself to writing a postmortem to explain how this unfortunate outcome could have been avoided. He makes a good point:
This is why you have to have a late season bobble head written into a contract, prevents the current Nats-Pap situation #papelbonvoyage— William F. Yurasko (@doubleuefwhy) August 13, 2016
Not everyone was as sad to see the Nationals part ways with the enigmatic closer. It turns out that opinions of him in the baseball world are all over the spectrum, with plenty of hyperbole and sarcasm on both sides:
Papelbon was the glue that held this team together.— InternetContrarian (@bogcommenter) August 14, 2016
Thankfully it is also possible to find balanced and introspective perspectives to remind us that maybe in moments like this there are opportunities to study our own humanity and how our relationships with our heroes are perhaps more complex than we normally suspect.
Jonathan Papelbon is the anti-hero we all deserve— FIVE STAR MAN (@ChrisSportsNet) August 13, 2016
It turns out that Papelbon still has fans from his days with previous team such as the man who fondly remembers him pitching for the Red Sox when said man was 10 years old or this Phillies fan who expressed his emotional distress using emojis with lots of tears:
Papelbon got released— VILLANOVA CHAMPIONS (@phifan95) August 14, 2016
Obviously a star closer hitting the open market is always going to start passionate discussions over where he might end up pitching next week.
While the Red Sox were easily the most talked about destination, it turns out lots of teams could use bullpen help such as the Cubs who need a setup man for Aroldis Chapman.
Here, however, is a touching exchange between two Toronto Blue Jays fans which may seem at first glance to play hard into the cliche of Canadians being “nice” but really is just a touching reminder that there are baseball fans everywhere that don’t hate Papelbon:
@Minor_Leaguer good target for the Jays? https://t.co/WVoHBvCz2N— Kevin Papetti (@KPapetti) August 13, 2016
@KPapetti I don't like Papelbon either but I don't think the Jays should shoot bullets into him.— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) August 13, 2016
As the Nationals fanbase continues to work through the grieving process in a healthy manner there will be many more heartfelt messages flooding the internet.
This is a great opportunity for baseball fans of all stripes to rally together and show Nats fans some love and support in this dark hour.
While the focus is and should remain on the fans and how they are bravely working through their grief, words cannot express how much it means to the Nationals fan community the way the Washington Nationals went above and beyond to give Jonathan Papelbon a hero’s sendoff.
The name of Jonathan Papelbon will never be forgotten in Washington D.C.
The Nationals don't mess around when it comes to escorting Papelbon out of the building. #papelbonvoyage pic.twitter.com/OYHiZ4rjJb— Helder Gil (@hgil) August 13, 2016