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A Conversation In The Red Sox Bullpen

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When the Red Sox relievers walk out to the bullpen before games, the Fenway PA blairs "He's A Pirate" from Pirates of the Carribean. That's the way it's been for the last few years, during which time the Red Sox have seen a wealth of relief pitching usually anchored by farm products Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen, and Japanese import Hideki Okajima, with help of a few other notables along the way.

This year, though, things aren't going so well, and the disappearance of the cavalier attitude is noticeable, not just in the constant surrendering of leads, but just in how the guys act out in right. Where, after all, has the bullpen band gone?

Red Sox fans will instantly know what I'm talking about. For the last few years, the band would take up water bottles, the stakes used to hold down the tarp on the field, or whatever they could get their hands on (I believe eating utensils somehow have made a few appearances), and try to drum the Sox offense into a rally, banging out a rhythm against the overhanging bullpen roof.

So why haven't we heard the band so much this year? Well, it's not hard to imagine:

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"Hey guys, let's get this thing going," says Bard, grabbing a pair of water bottles.

"I dunno," replies Scott Schoeneweiss. "Just not feeling it. I'm probably out of a job pretty soon."

"Yeah, who cares if they get a lead? It's the sixth inning and Wake is at 100 pitches. It's not like we're gonna hold it," adds Manny Delcarmen.

Not to be left out, Jonathan Papelbon chips in. "Trying to have a mid-career crisis here, man."

Hideki Okajima just looks sad.

After a few seconds, Bard sighs and relents. "Fine, fine ... "

Trying to lighten the mood, rookie Dustin Richardson hesitantly taps one of Bard's discarded bottles against the pen wall before withering under a patented Papelbon stare -- the one part of his game that hasn't diminished -- and goes to chat with the bullpen catcher about the weather.

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So it goes in the depressing Red Sox bullpen. Always just one inning from disaster.