In a column for the Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy of all people tries to talk some sense into Red Sox fans when it comes to David Price. As has been discussed frequently here and elsewhere, Price’s relationship with the Boston media and Red Sox fans has been tumultuous since signing a seven-year, $217 million contract in December 2015. Price pitched decently last season, putting up a 3.99 ERA in 35 starts while leading the majors with 230 innings, but he wasn’t the same pitcher who finished as a runner up in 2015 AL Cy Young balloting. He also lost his only playoff start, lasting only 3 1/3 innings in his team’s loss in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Indians.
Shaughnessy spoke to Price in the dugout before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees. He was asked how he liked playing in Boston, and Price deflected, talking about his teammates. Shaughnessy then asked Price if he’s more cautious since coming to Boston. The lefty responded:
I’m not cautious. I’m the same me. I don’t talk to the media every day like I did last year and I guess I get blown up for that. But I was honest with everything they asked me last year and I get blown up for that. So they did this to themselves. Talk to me on the day I pitch and that’s it. There are no more personal interviews. There are no more asking me questions on a personal level. That’s done.
The media is not a monolith, but as a general trend, the media has tended to portray players negatively when they aren’t granted full access. Writers, feeling bitter about their jobs being made marginally more difficult, characterize these players as arrogant and aloof. As a result, fans reading those columns start to believe those characterizations and suddenly that player’s time in that city is made more difficult. Players that do make time for the media are portrayed as good people and positive influences on the team.
Boston is not the only city in which the media has acted this way in the past; any team in a city with a heavy media presence has experienced this. But it has certainly happened in Boston before and it would be a shame if Price were to suffer consequences from the media for prioritizing his mental health and focus. Sadly, Price was stuck between a rock and a hard place: put up with unfair criticisms of his performance and contract, or put up with unfair criticism of his unwillingness to speak to reporters. It feels weird to write this sentence, but: Kudos to Shaughnessy for being the voice of reason.