Red Sox: David Price is in a war with the media he cannot win

Jun 8, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 8, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox have created a new soap opera starring David Price. The latest episode was a rant against the media that was laced with profanities.

What exactly did the reporters do to upset Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price? Steve Buckley apparently was in the wrong place at the wrong time when volcano Price decided to erupt and target anyone with a whiff of media credentials. Were lies formulated to disparage Price? Did someone tweet that he kicked his dog? Littered? Conspired with the Russians?

Price is now in the process of becoming public baseball enemy number one – unless, of course, Price becomes the pitcher he once was. At this point, Price is a mosquito and the Boston media, talk shows, and far too many fans are bug zappers. Price does not stand a chance, but with a healthy contract, he can luxuriate in misery.

There is a substantial list of players in Boston who wished to engage in a Tong War with the media – the inevitable result is they will most certainly lose. Even the illustrious Ted Williams, who mostly brushed off the media, would still have more than a select few to single out.

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The eventual revenge for Ted’s “Knights of the Keyboard” was in MVP voting where Williams was left off a ballot. Was it a Boston writer? Doesn’t matter, but it does give an indication that writer’s revenge – not to be confused with Montezuma’s Revenge – can surface.

Is there any credence to the fact that certain players find Boston a stifling place to play with the microscopic media attention? Enough anecdotal evidence does exist – especially with players that have fat contracts, underperforming and are prone to magnify any perceived slight.

The media world has changed since Williams tormented pitchers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In that era newspapers were king. Boston had a multitude of papers and the suburban papers also had beat writers. Many traveled with the team and became privy to just what the boys may be up to.

Today it is a volatile social media world. Newspapers influence has waned dramatically and the go-to source can be sites such as this and many others or the very rapacious talk shows. Players do listen. Players do read. Players have friends and other players who will certainly say “Did you see what that idiot wrote about you?”

Price is now the Donald Trump of baseball regarding Twitter. Last year it was a heated exchange and this year it was – again – a confrontation that became public when Price decided to make it just that. His tantrum became fodder nationally as Price engaged in a profanity-laced put down of a writer who had offended him. Other writers – perfectly innocent – also felt the wrath of the $217 million lefty.

I have a five-year-old granddaughter with more common sense than Price and certainly more maturity. Price was so far out-of-bounds you would need a search party to locate him. When located a bit of lesson on engaging in civilized exchanges would be appropriate. That must have been missing on the academic schedule at Vanderbilt.

Price is no hayseed since he has been in the majors as a high-profile star – and he certainly is a star – for ten seasons. Price has been on the national stage and he has repeatedly been quizzed about his pitching Achilles Heel – notoriously poor performances in the playoffs – that is when your “Ace” is supposed to deliver and not go AWOL.

At this juncture of his Boston career, there are mixed feelings about Price. From my perspective, he has somewhat delivered. Price is a Rolls Royce who will get you to the playoffs and then simply become a Yugo when you need him most. This is a fact and Price has to live with it until his pitching can close off that debate. Otherwise, it becomes part of every storyline and is guaranteed to arouse the worst in Price.

Price is following a path to sure ruin in Boston. The only 100% way of extracting himself from the self-made pit of professional quicksand is to pitch like all expected. Price is now a very good pitcher, but a great pitcher is Chris Sale – and that is what is expected of Price.

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If Price delivers the baseball goods in the regular and postseason he will own this town. Now? Price is digging a hole that may soon be equal to the Mariana Trench. Based on what I have seen of his personality, Price – like Trump – has no self-control. The Red Sox, his agent, other players, family or the guy in the coffee shop needs to give Price a dope slap since he is now in a war he cannot win.

A disgruntled Price equals disaster for the 2017 season. The Yankees took Price apart like a pit bull toying with a stuffed animal. Will that continue? Will Price just fold up with the attitude of “I’ve got mine?”

A very good Price – circa 2016 – is fine with me. Overpay? Of course! A sullen and petulant Price will wear out his welcome and an inevitable divorce will take place. Like all celebrity divorces, it will be messier than a teenager’s room on a pizza-fueled binge.

Right now this is great theater and the media knows it. I know it and it generates interest that makes the normal tabloid gossip seem tame. The distraction will continue until Price decides to put in earplugs and avoid all print. Otherwise, expect him to respond to every slight – real or imagined.

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What I do know is the players, manager, coaches, souts and executives are conduites to the fans by use of the media. If that is curtailed the end result will fall on the Red Sox collectively.

This, eventually, will be a signing that will go down in Red Sox infamy.