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Thursday, December 20, 2007
The dog ate it? Closer's canine reportedly chews on history

ESPN.com news services

The baseball from the final out of the 2007 World Series is at Jonathan Papelbon's home in Hattiesburg, Miss., according to the Hattiesburg American.

Well, part of it is.

The rest? You should ask the Boss.

If he could talk, he might say it was delicious. But the most he'll say is "woof."

Boss is Papelbon's dog. Boss likes to play with baseballs. And Boss found the baseball that Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gave the closer after he struck out the Rockies' Seth Smith to clinch Boston's second World Series title in four years, the newspaper reported.

And Papelbon was left with a common excuse for not doing one's homework to explain what happened to a historic baseball artifact.

"My dog ate it," Papelbon told the newspaper. "He plays with baseballs like they are his toys. His name is Boss. He jumped up one day on the counter and snatched it. He likes rawhide. He tore that thing to pieces.

"I'll keep what's left of it," he told the paper.

Papelbon told a similar tale to the New England Sports Network for a story that aired Nov. 30 -- but with a slightly different ending. He told NESN he threw what was left of the ball in the trash.

"It's in the garbage in Florida somewhere," he said.

After the 2004 World Series, the Red Sox and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz haggled over custody of the ball that produced the final out of the team's Series championship in 86 years. Both sides eventually decided to give the ball to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The Red Sox didn't sound particularly concerned with what happened to this latest souvenir.

"The 2004 ball is obviously very special to us because it was the club's first World Series win in 86 years," team spokesman John Blake said. "This ball was in the hands of one of the players and we take his word at what happened to it, but it's a non-issue as far as the club's concerned."

The Hall of Fame has a bunch of Red Sox memorabilia from the 2007 World Series, including Papelbon's glove.

"We did not ask for the ball," spokesman Jeff Idelson said. "We were more focused on other items."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.