It was a big day today in the clubhouse for the Boston Red Sox, as David Price addressed reporters for the first time since the details of his plane confrontation with commentator Dennis Eckersley were published by Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy.
Price is currently on the 10-day disabled list due to elbow inflammation, retroactive to July 25; he’s eligible to return on Friday.
With seemingly very few Red Sox fans and media members backing Price—or the team—in this never-ending saga, surely the 31-year-old must’ve shown some regret and embarrassment for his actions during his brief press conference. Right?
Plain and simple, this is what Red Sox fans have come to expect from the guy by now. An unapologetic attitude, never believing his disruptive actions are wrong or a problem.
As Price spoke to the media for more than 10 minutes prior to Boston’s game against the Royals Saturday night (a 9-8 walkoff win for the Red Sox), it became clear that he’s still way too obsessed with what Eckersley has to say about himself and the team for whatever reason. Not like he makes $31 million a year or anything, but hey, whatever makes him feel good right?
One of the questions Price was asked regarded his overall thoughts on the incident:
Q: “Is it one of those things you wish hadn’t happened?”
A: “I could’ve handled it probably a different way, but ever since that’s happened he’s been really good. Said a lot of positive stuff about everybody in this clubhouse. This is one band, one sound. Gotta have everybody on board. That’s that.”
Yep, that’s that alright! I wish Price went into more details on how he could’ve handled it “probably” a different way, but do you see what he did there? He gave himself a nice little pat on the back. Splendid. Crediting himself for how Eckersley supposedly has been better—”really good”—since the incident. You know, not as much of a bully and saying awful critical nasty things about the team! Like “Yuck” at some not-so-pretty rehab stats, something every Red Sox fan was saying to themself at the time. Yeah, you sure showed him, didn’t you Price!
If anyone’s wondering, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three innings for the Portland Sea Dogs that night, the double-A affiliate of the Red Sox. He allowed nine hits, six runs (five earned), and struck out three with no walks. NESN displayed the stats, Eckersley said “Yuck”, and look where we are now. Gotta love it!
Commentators get paid to tell it like it is. That includes being critical when necessary. Eckersley’s one of the most straightforward in the business at his craft, never describing a situation for anything less than what it is. Him saying “Yuck” was not out of line at all. It described Rodriguez’s night. Especially because it was—you know—only a double-A start after all. It was an appropriate comment for the situation. Therefore, you’d think it wouldn’t get so under the skin of a professional athlete who has the largest overall contract for a pitcher in Major League history. Guess not.
Eckersley’s a Hall of Famer. He’s an all-time great and can say whatever he wants. He’s been part of Red Sox telecasts on NESN for 15 seasons and brings invaluable knowledge and experience to the booth. It’s not surprising many people are siding with him right now. He may be a bit more critical than most commentators—which is a privilege he’s earned from his credentials and experience—but he’s never said anything to truly make fans shake their heads or lose sleep. Nothing ever totally out of line. He’s just brutally honest. And what he said—wasn’t a big deal! One little word! YUCK! That’s it! I mean, it’s such an Eckersley thing to say. It really is.
Has Price considered at any point that his obsession for finding anything remotely bad said about him or the team and making a scene about it—maybe, just maybe—is more of a problem than the commentators that cover him and his teammates! A mind-blowing suggestion, I know. Again, you’d think a guy with a $217 million contract would just choose to not focus on a teeny weeny bit of criticism here and there. Yet he does. It’s pitiful, really. I’ve never seen anything like this from a professional athlete. Paper-thin skin.
Here’s another gem from Price’s press conference:
Q: “Since the incident, the fans are upset.”
A: “That’s the worst part about it. Fans hear what they say, they’re going to believe what they read and what they hear on TV and that’s not us. If Eck was around, he would know who we are. Never in the clubhouse. Mr. [Jerry] Remy is always in here. Dave O’Brien, he’s always around. Mr. [Mike] Timlin on the road trip, always in the clubhouse. He’s the one guy I’ve seen in my career that doesn’t ever show his face in the clubhouse. There’s a reason behind that.”
It seems that Price is essentially upset at Eckersley for not being around enough. If he was around more—if he did, in fact, spend more time in the clubhouse—would he then not be subject to humiliation on the team plane at the hands of Price and a number of his teammates? Not that he should’ve been in the first place. What if a guy like Jerry Remy said “Yuck”? Would he get the Price treatment or not? Needless to say, Price and the Red Sox have mishandled the situation from the start. If they had an issue with the Eck, they should’ve talked to him in private. Especially Price. Settle things like men. Couldn’t do it though. Nope. Had to make it a public event which has brought nothing but negative publicity to the team. Nothing but a distraction.
Also, did Price expect fans to think this wouldn’t be a big deal? Acknowledging them, saying how them being upset is the “worst part” of the situation. Not much else. Seems that he’s just casually shrugging it off, while taking somewhat of a stab at the media in the process (“Fans hear what they say, they’re going to believe what they read”). Playing the victim. I mean, should fans not care that their team is acting like a bunch of little leaguers going through puberty? Not a good look.
Here’s a third portion from Price’s media interview today. This one might be my favorite:
Q. “Do you think it’s inappropriate for Dennis Eckersley to be critical of you guys?”
A. “I guess that’s part of it. Every team that we play here, whenever they hear our broadcast, everybody in here’s always getting text messages on how, ‘That guy, he has to never be around.’ People know what’s going on. That’s just part of it. We’ll get through this. This isn’t going to hinder us in any way. It hasn’t caused us to play the type of baseball that we play. Just haven’t played good baseball and that’s that. Like I said before, this is a very hard game. It’s not always going to go your way. Whenever you go through a stretch like this, everybody just kind of has to come together and when we do, when we get through this, it makes it feel that much better at the end of the year.”
Incredible. I call BS on this one. Price is claiming that opposing players are listening to Eckersley’s commentary on the team, and texting Red Sox players on what he says. Which is why they assume “he has to never be around”. I don’t think so. You’d think the opposing teams would be more concerned on winning against the Red Sox that day rather than listening to their commentators for some reason. It just doesn’t add up.
Everything’s an excuse for David Price. Everything. It’s almost like he’s trying to get shipped out of town. He’s just waiting for that phone call from Dave Dombrowski.
Price called it defending a teammate for what he did. What was there to defend though? What was so awful about what Eckersley said? Was it too harsh? I don’t believe it was. Would Rodriguez have wanted Price to come rushing to his defense? I don’t think so. Is Rodriguez secretly one of those “I’m-with-Price” members of the team right now? I hope not.
When asked today if Price considers himself a leader in the clubhouse, he said, “Absolutely. Yeah. For sure. Stand up for my guys.”
Because sometimes they get criticized a little bit. Yep. Not like it’s Boston or anything.
Here’s the full transcript of Price’s press conference, in which he also talks about his elbow and his optimism for a speedy return to the mound.
To wrap it up, was Price hinting at apologizing to the Eck in the near future?
Q. “Are you and [Dennis] Eckersley eventually going to talk this thing out?”
A. “Yeah, we’ll speak when he’s here and in person. We’ll definitely talk it out.”
Q. “Do you need to apologize to Dennis not for what you’re saying, but maybe the method?”
A. “When he’s around, we’ll speak face to face. I’m sure you all will hear what’s said. That’s the way it goes.”