It hasn’t been pretty through seven starts this season for Red Sox starting pitcher David Price.
That’s not to say his performance has been too bad, as he’s 3-2 with a 4.61 ERA (only one real bad start). Three of his past four outings have been quality starts. He’s allowed less hits than innings pitched, and opponents are hitting just .234 against him.
However, when it comes to confrontation—Price hasn’t let up in the five weeks he’s been back in Boston’s rotation since returning from an elbow injury he suffered in Spring Training.
Price’s latest spat occurred Thursday night on the team’s flight to Toronto. Keep in mind the Red Sox had just taken three of four from the Minnesota Twins at home. Price won the final game striking out seven in seven innings without issuing a walk as the Red Sox won 6-3.
What could possibly go wrong?
First reported by The Boston Globe, Price verbally confronted MLB Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley on the flight following Boston’s series win. Eckersley works as an analyst and color commentator for Red Sox telecasts on NESN.
Prior to Friday night’s game, Price met with Red Sox manager John Farrell and general manager Dave Dombrowski to discuss the incident. Farrell issued no comment on the meeting, saying “it’s being handled internally.”
There’s been some speculation that Price was upset at a criticism Eckersley made during the Thursday night telecast. At one point in the game, Price forgot to cover first base on a ground ball which resulted in a baserunner. The straight-shooting Eckersley said: “He’s just watching. Look at that. That is a major, major mistake. I’ve done it, it happens.”
Seems like a reasonable take from a Hall of Famer.
So if that’s what irked Price, you can’t help but shake your head. Eckersley was even gracious enough to throw in the “I’ve done it, it happens” remark. See, no one’s perfect! But for Price to still be angry enough to make confrontation unavoidable? Come on man!
You simply don’t go after Eckersley—”The Eck”—in Boston. The man is beloved in that city. He’s a former Red Sox player (’78-’84, ’98) and has been employed by NESN since 2003. Not a guy you want to pick a fight with—his Hall of Fame credentials have all but earned him the right to say whatever he wants, and the fans love him.
What he said couldn’t have been more harmless. It was a fair, honest criticism. It was pretty much the only negative thing Eckersley said about Price during the entire telecast. And if that is the reason Price was upset Thursday night, then wow—just wow.
This latest incident with Price comes just a few weeks after he snapped at CSNNE reporter Evan Drellich on June 7 at Yankee Stadium. Earlier that day, Price told Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe that he’d stop giving interviews to reporters on days he doesn’t pitch. Drellich tweeted out a portion of what Price said to Shaughnessy, as well as what MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expects out of players talking to the media. That’s all.
Like Eckersley, Drellich did nothing wrong. But for whatever reason, Price wasn’t impressed.
Price isn’t doing himself any favors by continually acting like this. He’s digging himself deeper into a hole with the fans and media with his unprofessional behavior. It’s obvious he feels the pressure of pitching in Boston, and he’s completely mishandling it.
Let’s not forget about him dodging the media after struggling in his second rehab start on May 25. Guess he wasn’t ready for those tough post-game questions!
When a player signs a seven year, $217 million deal with a team, you’d expect that player would simply drown out the negative things people say about him and just move foward. Not Price though, nope. He has a history of clashing with Red Sox fans on Twitter, and now he’s beefing with media members face to face for seemingly no reason.
He’s bringing all of this on himself.
Perhaps it would be a good idea for Price to look into seeing a sports psychologist. It could really benefit him. He needs to focus more on pitching and less on what others say about him, because the Red Sox don’t need any more of his distractions.