In his greatest move since scoping out Tina Cervasio’s spectacular rear end on NESN’s “Red Sox Weekly” (a moment of TV history lovingly captured in the screengrab above), The Papel-Bot insists that the ball with which the final out of the 2007 World Series was made has been eaten. By his bulldog, Boss.

“He plays with baseballs like they are his toys,” Papelbon told the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American. “He jumped up one day on the counter and snatched it. He likes rawhide. He tore that thing to pieces. Nobody knows that. I’ll keep what’s left of it.”

While the Red Sox have swept two of the past four World Series, they’ve had less luck when it comes to preserving the ball that was caught for the final out. It took a prolonged negotiation before first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz agreed to donate the 2004 ball to the Hall of Fame.

Papelbon, who has a home in Hattiesburg, struck out Colorado pinch-hitter Seth Smith to finish off Game 4 on Oct. 28. Papelbon threw his glove high in the air while catcher Jason Varitek [stats] tucked the ball in his back pocket.

After the game, Varitek said he planned to give the prize to the team. A few days later, he said he’d given it to Papelbon.

Instead, the relief pitcher said, Boss got hold of that doggone ball.

Obviously, “my dog ate it” is secret code for “I got so wrecked on scotch and Pabst, I have no f@#king idea where that ball is.” Either way, I have to believe that somewhere, Bud Selig is working to have Pap’s dog extradited to Cooperstown for further examination.

In the meantime, between the Santana rumors and Schilling vs. Rocket and now this, we’ve experienced an embarassment of Red Sox riches this week. As the great Bill Blazejowski once said, “Is this a great country or what?”