BOSTON — David Price’s 10 minutes with the media on Saturday afternoon reinforced how little he understands the media. The Red Sox lefty gave himself credit for what he perceived as a softened stance from NESN color commentator Dennis Eckersley since Price confronted Eckersley on a team plane.
“I could have handled it probably a different way, but ever since that’s happened, he’s been really good,” Price said of the incident. “He’s said a lot of positive stuff about everybody in this clubhouse. This is one band, one sound. We’ve got to have everybody on board. That’s that.”
For one, there isn’t any common feeling out there that Eckersley has changed.
Two, Eckersley is not part of Price’s band. Some broadcasters may choose to comport themselves that way, as team members. Good for Eckersley for taking a more unbiased approach.
On Saturday and throughout his time in Boston, the biggest clue Price lives in a fantasy land is his hypocrisy.
Time and again, he says one thing, then contradicts himself with his actions, his words or both. Remember when he said at his introductory press conference “I’m a lover, I’m not a fighter,” when asked about his interactions with Red Sox fans?
Price said Saturday if Eckersley came around the clubhouse more, guys would pull him aside to handle their issues — presumably, Price meant in a more tasteful, respectful fashion than his own approach.
“I mean if you’re going to say what he says, you know, come around,” Price said. “Just show your face. And if guys have a problem with it, they’ll pull him aside. Be like, that ain’t how it’s done. This is not the first time this has happened here regarding Eck. It’s unfortunate that it happened and it did and we’re going to get through it.”
Well, Price pulled this reporter aside in New York in June. And he made clear that night, with many expletives and a raised voice in a hallway, that he wanted it known he was pulling this reporter aside.
Grandstanding has been a repeated approach, so what reason is there to believe that Eckersley would be handled any differently in a locker room?
Price on Saturday was asked if he was standing up for himself as well teammates.
“Honestly, I don’t,” Price said. “I don’t go back and watch the broadcast after I pitch. I honestly can tell you that I’ve never heard Eckersley say a bad thing about me. I never have. So that had nothing to do with me whatsoever.”
Price, time and again, has made clear how bothered he’s been by the media’s coverage of him in particular.
That was true when he was upset about tweets this reporter sent excerpting Price’s own comments to the Globe in June. He also told the Globe in spring training that he felt like the reporters didn’t properly take the time to get to know him and his charitable efforts.
He isn’t Mr. Selfless, although surely at times, Price does act selflessly — with charitable events and otherwise.
How could Price actually be unaware of what quote-quote negative things Eckersley has said about him?
Consider that, as Price noted, he receives texts messages from other teams’ players about Eckersley’s words.
“Every team that we play here, whenever they hear, whenever they hear our broadcast, everybody in here is always getting text messages how the guy, he has to never be around. People know what’s going on,” Price said. “That’s just part of it. We’ll get through this. This isn’t going to hinder us in any way.”
But not once did Price hear Eckersley be critical of his own pitching?
“I talked to my dad this morning and he remembered whenever I got suspended in fifth grade for one day, for standing up for classmates,” Price said. “And that’s who I am, that's who I always have been and that’s who I’ll continue to be.”
Fifth grade is a fitting image for this whole thing. On one hand Saturday, Price said the Eckersley incident and its fallout have been immaterial to the clubhouse.
“I don’t think that’s affected what we do in here at all,” Price said. “It’s not something that we talked about after it happened or any other time. I don’t think it’s affected us.”
Except it has been talked about. And people have been affected. And Price acknowledged as much.
Price noted that he spoke a day earlier with Dustin Pedroia, whose reputation has been questioned because of the incident.
“Everything that’s happened has not spaced us out or done anything of that nature,” Price said. “If anything, we’ve had discussions about it, we’ve rallied around it. I’m standing up for my teammates. That’s it. That’s that.
So which is it — you've had discussions about it or you haven’t?
“[Pedroia and I] talked before he addressed the media yesterday,” Price said later in Saturday’s session. “And told him whatever he needed to say to take it off of him. This isn’t about him.”
The most comical of all was this comment to the Globe in June.
“I know I’ve got 24 guys in this clubhouse and all our coaches rooting for me, and my family and my friends. That’s all I need,” Price said. “Whatever anybody else wants to do, that’s on them. I’m fine. I’m at peace.’’
That’s all you need? You’re at peace?
Later that night in June, after Price gave that quote to the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, he went after this reporter in a hallway. The next month, he went after Eckersley.
Price told the Globe that same June day that he “was honest with everything” local media asked in 2016.
Honesty is all anyone can hope for, media or otherwise. But if you repeatedly present falsehoods, if you’re repeatedly illogical as a star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, people will notice.
Price is a one-man band with one sound, and it sounds absurd.