David Price’s recent comments show he’s still not thick-skinned enough when it comes to criticisms.
David Price begins the season on a road to redemption, both on and off the field. After failing to live up to expectations for his $217 million contract, Price, 32, must focus on staying healthy and executing pitches. After all, produce on the field, and most fans will be forced to like you.
However, off the field, Price must learn to block out the noise and negativity. When players aren’t performing, they must develop thick skin to handle criticisms from the Boston media and fans. Price showed in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he still isn’t able to ignore criticism or negativity in a major market city.
He tells Nightengale:
"“It is tough here,’’ Price tells USA TODAY. “There’s just so much more negativity. I’ve never been one for negative stuff. I like surrounding myself by positive people. Even if my wife starts talking negatively, I let her know. I just can’t stand it.“I can remember (Vanderbilt) coach (Tim) Corbin is always preaching that positive, positive word, positive vibe, positive environment. I feel like I’m the same way. I try to find the positive in everything.“Sometimes that’s tough.’’"
In Price’s defense, Boston is tough. The people of this city bleed for their beloved Red Sox, and have experienced an exceptional amount of heartbreak. Aside from the championships, Red Sox fans have seen their share of disappointment, mismanagement and failure; something their neighbors, the New England Patriots, don’t see much of.
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However, Price is a 32-year-old athlete who has most likely seen and heard every harsh comment in the book. Despite the notion that he’s able to shut out the negativity thrown his way, Price actually tips his hand in a comment to Nightengale, revealing he was bothered by the boos at Fenway Park and J.D. Martinez should expect to get booed too.
"“Oh, yeah, he’ll get booed,’’ Price laughs. “I told J.D. he will love the guys here in this clubhouse but also told him he’ll get booed. He’s a quiet, soft-spoken guy, but he’ll handle it. Besides, everyone gets booed. I heard Big Papi (David Ortiz) get booed many times in Fenway."
Big Papi has gotten booed many times at Fenway Park? MANY?! Has David Ortiz gotten booed at Fenway more than once his whole career?
The comments by Price regarding Ortiz getting booed many times are wildly inaccurate. Price seems to sidestep the fact that he has gotten booed many times because of his individual situation as a member of the Red Sox, and attempts to falsely claim that even the greats get booed at Fenway.
Price making Red Sox fans and people of Boston look like ugly, awful people isn’t appropriate. If a fan says a terrible racial slur, then fine, criticize the one fan. But telling Martinez that the fans even boo the greats that play in Fenway? That’s flat out incorrect.
Despite Dustin Pedroia‘s antics last year, he was never booed at Fenway. Why? Because he put in the time and have won numerous fans over his career. He’s played hard and most importantly, produced at a high level.
How about Chris Sale? In his first year, he pitched his way to a second-place Cy Young finish, before imploding late in the regular season and post season. Was he booed? Not once. Why? Because he admits when he “sucks” and takes full blame.
Price needs to start producing at an ace-like level, because his injuries and age won’t allow him to cash in on another payday. If he has a bad start, he needs to own up to it. Price is a different guy than Sale is, but he could learn a few things from the way Sale carries himself.
Price better get used to Boston, because the only huge contract he’ll have, is the one he’s currently in. Red Sox fans aren’t full of hate and vitriol; they just want a $217 million player to pitch well and not cause drama off the field. They certainly don’t want to be criticized as a fanbase, either.
Over sensitivity and avoiding criticism aren’t the answers to shutting up Red Sox fans. It’s production.