I swear, the guy opens his mouth, and out pops magic.

“If I was managing the team, I would close,” Papelbon said. “I’m not managing the team, so it don’t matter.”

Papelbon, though, seemed to believe that Boston’s championship a year ago not only ensured Terry Francona’s place as the American League manager, but him being the closer.

“We’ve both earned that right; us, by winning the World Series and having the opportunity of having our manager there and our team being represented, and Mariano by what he’s done for this role, we’re in Yankee Stadium and blah, blah, blah,” Papelbon said. “It’s not that easy. Everybody thinks it’s a cut and dry answer, but it’s not.”

Asked if Francona would make it out of the Bronx alive if he didn’t use Rivera in the ninth, Papelbon said, “You’re starting to scare me with that question. Do you have the mob after him or something?”

You can have McCain and Obama. I’m voting Papelbon.