Last Thursday Red Sox pitcher David Price confronted Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley during a team flight to Toronto. The circumstances of the argument were not clear at the time and at least one report said that it was a “back and forth,” presumably about some critical comments Eckersley made on the air about Price.
Today Rob Bradford of WEEI.com sheds a bit more light on the situation. It doesn’t reflect well on Price.
When asked about it yesterday — Price only talks to the media on days he starts — Price said he was “standing up for [his] teammates,” and that “whatever crap I catch for that, I’m fine with it.” Some with the Red Sox, however, found Price’s “standing up” to be pretty uncomfortable. And it sounds it:
While initial reports suggested the incident involved a back-and-forth between the two, those familiar with the situation point out that it was Price who did all the talking, with the pitcher waiting for Eckersley before pretty much putting the analyst on stage for the sake of the teammates Price thought he was standing up for.
Price is kind of an odd duck. On the one hand he’s always been pretty publicly self-critical of his performance and at times downright self-effacing, as when he tweeted some lighthearted stuff which acknowledged his postseason struggles last winter. Lately, however, he’s been seen to pick fights with media members — Eckersley here, Evan Drellich of CSNNE.com a few weeks back — due to what he considered to be critical comments. Is the former behavior an act and is he, in fact, thin-skinned, or is something else going on?
No one not in Price’s head can fully answer that question, but it’s hard to see why Price believes putting individual members of the media on blast in such a fashion is a good idea. For one thing, it’s unreasonable for him to think that either he or his teammates are above criticism at times, at least as long as it’s focused on baseball and not personal attacks. For another it, inevitably, leads to more criticism, not less, which seems to be . . . not what Price wants.
It’s Price’s life and career and he can do whatever he wants with it, but the list of guys who have taken the sort of media relations approach he’s taken of late and done well by it is short. The list of guys who have managed to pull it off in Boston is non-existent.