Papelbon nearly apologized for Harper fight in ‘Obama Can’t Ban These Guns’ tee

Jonathan Papelbon has already had an eventful spring training.

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On Friday, embattled Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon apologized to the team for his now-infamous dugout scuffle with Bryce Harper.

While the apologetic media session was noteworthy in its own right, Papelbon came close to wearing a tee-shirt to the conference that would have turned even MORE heads. 

According to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post’s Sunday column regarding Papelbon and Nats’ spring training, he was back to being ‘full-blown Pap’ on Saturday. Specifically, he was wearing a loud, brash t-shirt alluding to his physical strength that he originally wanted to wear to the press conference:

At this point in his career, Papelbon has made a name for himself off the mound as much as on the field, and the Harper dugout kerfuffle is among his most … eventful … in-game incidents. 

The Nationals may have talked him out of wearing that ‘Obama Can’t Ban These Guns’ shirt to the press conference, but knowing that he wanted to in the first place doesn’t really seem that far-fetched, given his personality.

With Washington vying for a postseason spot again this season, the decision to keep Papelbon around is one Boswell discusses in his piece. Of particular note is this quote passed along by assistant GM Bob Boone regarding the fight with Harper:

If the players themselves didn’t think much of the dugout scuffle and are really content to chalk it up to an "oh well, fights happen sometimes" attitude, that might make it realistic to imagine the club relying on Papelbon out of the bullpen rather than trying to send him elsewhere. 

Maybe, just maybe, they’ll find a way to make it work.