The details of the verbal altercation, per the Boston Globe, between Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price and NESN color analyst and hall of famer Dennis Eckersley have come out, and things do not look good for Price or the Red Sox.
On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersely. When Eckersely approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersely and shouted “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!”
When a stunned Eckersely tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!”
Many players applauded.
Overall, this is an absolutely terrible look for the Boston Red Sox and especially Price.
Eckersley is a Hall of Famer and a Cy Young award winner. He’s been through more adversity than everyone in that Red Sox clubhouse combined. Unlike everyone else at NESN, Eck tells it how it is. If you do well, he says it; if you do bad, he says it. That’s just how it goes.
For Eckersley to take such a blow was as uncalled for as it gets, considering it stemmed from a June 29th comment when he said “Yuck” as Eduardo Rodriguez‘s poor rehab stats were flashed across the screen.
Price has been struggling to gain Red Sox fan-approval since he began his time in Boston. With the largest contract ever for a pitcher, Sox fans expect a lot more than what Price has given them.
And Price can’t handle the pressure.
Price is as soft as a grape and it’s clear as day as to why. This guy gets a group of his teammates together to go gang up on the color analyst like it’s the schoolyard playground. Instead of pulling Eckersley aside and talking to him, Price chose the coward’s way out and did it in front of everyone, with all of his teammates there. And in Price’s head, he probably figured that since Eck is one of the more unpopular guys in the Red Sox clubhouse, this would be an easy way to get some “clubhouse-cred”.
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It’s easy to call someone of Eck’s standing out in front of a crowd of people who feel the same way. But it takes a true backbone to pull someone with the credentials of Eckersley aside and air out those “grievances”.
And this isn’t the first time Price has done something like this.
Earlier this season, Price had a problem with CSN reporter Evan Drellich. Rather than pull him aside privately, Price decided to rip into Drellich right in front of all media members as they waited to go into the manager’s office.
Price’s lack of character off the field is key evidence as to why when the situation gets intense, he can’t perform.
*Cough, cough, the playoffs*
Price is 2-8 in his playoff career with an ERA of 5.54. He lacks the character and backbone to pitch in the playoffs, handle criticism, and deal with it in the correct forms.
What is most chilling is that many teammates applauded Price’s berating of Eckersley. These players were fed up with the negativity thrown their way by Eckersley and the rest of the critical Boston media. So rather than each handle it individually and privately, which happens all the time in sports, they decided to team up behind their “fearless” leader Price.
What a joke.
And why does this team think they can go back at the media in such a way? They haven’t won anything. They completely choked in last year’s ALDS against the Cleveland Indians by getting swept. It’s great to play with a chip on your shoulder, but don’t dare say anything to the accomplished unless you’ve won something yourself.
Getting criticized is part of the deal as a member of the Boston Red Sox. It’s the market: play well, get praise; play bad, get hate. It’s just how it goes.
Also, neither David Price nor John Farrell has given Eckersley an apology. Eckersley deserves an apology in every sense of the word and it says a lot about Price and Farrell for not finding the courage to give him one.
The bottom line is that this team needs to drown out the noise and focus on winning games. While doing so, they should also grow up.
Or maybe they should get the [expletive] out.