That’s Officer Billy Dunn there, doing the ceremonial fist pound with Papelbon during a Sox game. For those not aware, it’s become a tradition that when Pap gets called out of the ‘pen to close the game, he and Dunn share this gesture as he heads out of the gate.
The globe has a great article today about it, and Officer Dunn, the “paunchy veteran cop.”
It goes like this: In the late innings with the Sox clinging to possible victory, manager Terry Francona walks to the pitcher’s mound and motions with his right arm to summon his All-Star closer. Rock music fills the park . Dunn flings open the bullpen gate and Papelbon steps onto the field. Papelbon and Dunn then square their fists and knock knuckles to the delight of Red Sox fans everywhere.
For those who have never been at Fenway, or who haven’t been there at any time over the past couple of seasons to witness what’s become a bit of a “ceremony” of Papelbon getting called out of the pen, it’s just one of those things that make Fenway special.
When we were in New York visiting my friend Dennis, and went out to Flushing Meadows to catch a Mets game for $9.50/ticket, he expressed utter disbelief that folks would regularly pay as much as they do, and go to the lengths that they do to see a game at old, small, somewhat decrepit Fenway Park. This is just one of those things, and you have to experience it to believe it, I suppose.