If only Doug Mientkiewicz had thought of this. From the Hattiesburg American’s Alan Hinton :

Moments after Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon struck out Colorado Rockie Seth Smith for the final out of the 2007 World Series, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gave Papelbon the baseball.

Papelbon’s agent later said that his client didn’t have the ball.

It puzzled some in Boston, as the team had trouble getting the final baseball of the 2004 World Series, too, which the Red Sox also won.

Well, the 2007 mystery is now solved. The World Series baseball is in Hattiesburg.

At least what is left of it is.

“My dog ate it,” said Papelbon, who has a home in the Canebrake subdivision.

“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. Nobody knows that. I’ll keep what’s left of it.”

There’s no truth to the rumor Charles Steinberg is hastily arranging to have x-rays of Boss’s stomach displayed on a town-by-town February tour of New England.