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12/20/07 3:57 PM ET

Dog gone it? Pap's pooch eats history

Ball that sealed Red Sox's World Series win meets biting fate

BOSTON -- Jonathan Papelbon's dog apparently has a taste for baseball history. Wondering what happened to that baseball Papelbon used to strike out Colorado's Seth Smith to close out the four-game sweep by the Red Sox in the World Series?

According to Papelbon, his dog ate it. And the remains of the ball are in the living room of Papelbon's Hattiesburg, Miss., home. This, according to what Papelbon told his local newspaper -- the Hattiesburg American.

It seems that the truth is out as to who the boss is in the Papelbon household.

"My dog ate it," Papelbon said. "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."

After the final out of the World Series was recorded, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek tucked the ball away and later gave it to Papelbon.

For a few weeks at least, Papelbon played dumb and pretended to have no knowledge of where the ball was.

But he finally admitted to having it. In fact, the story of the dog eating the ball is a story Papelbon started floating to people within the organization as far back as a month ago. In fact, he said as much in an interview with NESN a few weeks ago.

Unlike in 2004, when the Red Sox were on a mission to retrieve the World Series-winning baseball from former first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, the club isn't all that interested this time around.

"From the Red Sox standpoint, our only real comment is that from the ballclub's perspective, the 2004 ball was very special because it was the first time we won in 86 years and everything," said Red Sox spokesman John Blake. "This one, obviously, if Pap says the dog ate the ball or whatever, we have to believe him. It's really kind of a non-issue with us."

Because Papelbon is one of the most light-hearted players on the Red Sox, if not all of Major League Baseball, it's hard to ascertain whether his story is true.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.