Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon blamed the New York media for creating a firestorm that resulted in his pregnant wife being threatened on Tuesday.
MLB.com reported that during a red carpet parade for the All-Star Game that went down Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, Papelbon and his wife, Ashley, were bombarded by insults from fans.
"I feel like I needed to be in a bulletproof car," Papelbon said, according to the Web site. "My wife is pregnant and she's getting her life threatened. It's stupid."
Papelbon had said that he would welcome closing out the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium even though it's the home field of Mariano Rivera.
"I've said from the very beginning, since two days ago, and talked to Tito [Red Sox manager Terry Francona] about it, I said, 'I want Mariano to close.' I understand what it's about to pay your dues in this game and what it's about to put in your time," Papelbon said, according to the Web site. "If you were to ask me, of course I wanted to close. That's my competitive nature."
Papelbon said he was shocked when he saw a New York Daily News headline that read "PAPELBUM! Red Sox reliever says he, not Mariano, should close tonight's All-Star Game."
"That was an easy headline for that [newspaper] to say, 'Yeah, Papelbon said he wants to close.' Yeah, of course I do," Papelbon said, according to the site. "That's my competitive nature. But I'm stepping away and saying I don't need to close."
Papelbon told MLB.com that he was so disturbed by the parade incident that he didn't even care if he pitched on Tuesday.
"Your family gets involved like that and you're trying to enjoy an experience with your family, and you have a wife who's pregnant who doesn't feel safe riding in a red-carpet event, you know what I mean? How would you feel?" Papelbon said, according to MLB.com.
Papelbon did pitch and received a harsh welcome when he entered the All-Star Game in the eighth inning.
The crowd of 55,632 chanted "Overrated" with Papelbon on the mound, and sounded almost pleased when he allowed Adrian Gonzalez's go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.