ESPN has a disturbing story on the All-Star Game Parade, and how Papelbon was received by New York fans. The piece was written by his driver, an editor for ESPN.
Seeing the success they had with Morneau, fans started throwing items at Papelbon to sign … all the while hurling insults as well and waving the now-infamous New York Daily News back page. Until the NYPD put a stop to it by ordering the players not to sign anything, our truck was pelted with taunts, baseballs and pens. It got so bad that at one point my co-pilot Al rolled up his window, saying, "I don't know what's coming at us next." To put it in perspective, this is a guy who is a member of El Barrio's Bravest, whose only negative comment about life in the FDNY is that he doesn't get to fight enough fires. Needless to say, it was getting ugly.
At one point Papelbon switched from riding on the wooden bench in the back of the truck to sitting on the edge of the tailgate. He played it off as if he was doing a favor for the fans, so his back wouldn't be turned to one side of the street, but it sure seemed like more of a defensive maneuver, hoping to calm his pregnant wife's fraying nerves.
If any of the thousands that booed / pelted / insulted Papelbon had read his remarks, they would understand there was nothing to get worked up about. Pap merely said to reporters that he wanted to pitch and would close if he were the manager. Shortly thereafter he lauded Rivera ("He's the godfather of closers.") and abdicated any claim to closing the game ("I'm making a statement right now, saying I don't want it, I want him to have it.").
The behavior of New York fans at the All-Star Game parade was shocking and inexcusable. I have difficulty imagining something like this happening in Boston if the All-Star Game were held at Fenway. This is not to say Boston or New England is innocent of sports-related excesses - there have been plenty of celebratory riots and other examples of stupid, dangerous behavior here. Most of those incidents have grown out of celebration, however, not out of misplaced anger and tabloid journalism.