Red Sox: Will David Price assume a leadership role?

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: David Price
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: David Price /

Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price recently discussed the Boston baseball climate with J.D. Martinez. Is Price ready to assume a leadership role?

There are certain constants in life besides death and taxes and one is that Boston is a tough place to play in any sport. In baseball, Red Sox fans can be rather fickle and yesterday’s hero is today’s bum or even back to hero.

Just follow the saga of John Lackey when the baseball mob turned on him. Then the truth came out and Lackey attempted to pitch with an arm that looked like it lost a battle with a wood chipper. A whole world of respect surfaced for Lackey when he came back.

David Price has spoken out, according to an article in Yahoo Sports, on his situation and a conversation he had with recruit J.D. Martinez. Price reiterated the hostility a player can face, especially in Price’s circumstances where poor performance was coupled with several notable flare-ups with the media.

This was not new nor based on Price’s own physical frustration, but a carry-over from the previous season when Price engaged in a war of Tweets with fans.  That is a battle one cannot win. Price has already made significant efforts at damage control this spring and Boston fans love to have a redemption story. Of course, if Price goes in the tank that will be forgotten.

"“I rarely get on social media anymore,” said Price. “There’s nothing but negativity, that’s all it is. I can tweet out John 3:16, and I’m going to get crushed. There’s no point. No point. I used to really enjoy it, especially Twitter, interacting with everybody. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I really enjoyed it.”"

Price had a tete-a-tete with Martinez regarding what to expect. This is not any of Martinez’s previous and far milder fan bases, but one of exceptional passion and certain knowledge. If Martinez decides to do an Izzy Alcantara the fans will let him know in the most creative of fashions.

"“It’s tough here,” is how Price described his first two seasons in a Red Sox uniform, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “There’s just so much more negativity.”More from BoSox InjectionRed Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports GroupBizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departureRed Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contractRich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB recordRed Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure"

One issue surfaced with the 2017 Red Sox and that was leadership.  David Ortiz was gone, and no one really stood up. The leadership that may best be demonstrated by a quiet and non-media present intervention regarding attitude and professionalism. And, yes, the ability to play the game up to the best of your abilities. Where is Johnny Gomes? The type of leadership that takes pressure off a manager who is forced to spend an inordinate amount of time with “clubhouse issues.”

Is Price assuming that role? With a new manager in Alex Cora, young players who are still impressionable, highly compensated veterans and a team that is expected to win the Red Sox need some internal direction to keep everyone on an even keel and act as a clubhouse insulator to either prevent or put out brush fires. That issue may have been a mitigating factor in the firing of John Farrell.

A high paid veteran has some built-in creed based on history and dollar signs. Price has been in critical situations and knows what failure is – first hand and up in lights failure. That is most certainly a learning experience and can be passed down the baseball food chain on how to cope with professional embarrassment.

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Then the issue of public relations that Price has apparently (and hopefully) learned from. Boston is a verbal and performance minefield and a player must have the footwork of Baryshnikov, the verbal skills of Lincoln, and underwear made of Kevlar. Price stepped up to pass that on and gave some heady insight into his own mistakes in the baseball rules of war. Here is hoping his lesson takes hold.