Sigh Young was back at it again Tuesday night. After the Sox cuffed the Angels around and David Price went six rocking-chair easy innings in an eventual 9-1 win, glum chum piped up when asked about pitching against the Yankees on Sunday.
"I don’t think I’ll be able to go, so I don’t think so," Price deadpanned.
“Fortnite?” a reporter asked.
“Yeah. Fortnite,” Price replied.
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Price was joking. Or maybe “joke” is the wrong word because it connotes humor. This seemed less about being funny and more about mocking a media horde -- the one in front of him and the ones he’s never spoken to directly (like me) -- that dutifully notes that this $217 million pitcher left an April 17 start against New York after one inning then was scratched from another scheduled start vs. New York on May 9.
Sunday will be Price’s fourth start against New York since he got here. Last year, a day after flipping out on our own baseball guy, the ever-cuddly Evan Drellich, Price got shelled in New York, giving up six runs in five innings. He developed a blister during that start, saying after the game, “It's on my ring finger," he said. "I've never had a blister in that spot. I don't even know how it happened, to be honest. That didn't affect me at all."
Price went eight innings in a shutout win over the Yankees last July. And that’s it against the team the Red Sox and their fans have considered their main rivals for more than a century. Three starts. Two of which he left because of injury/ineffectiveness. One scratch. One terrific performance.
It’s noteworthy around here but the Human Eyeroll made it clear in February how he feels about the Yankees preoccupation by again pinning the needle on the sarcasm meter.
"Sure, yeah,” David Price smilingly told a group of reporters that morning at JetBlue Park. “You guys want it, let’s do it: We hate the Yankees. We hate the Yankees. Hate ’em.”
It’s hard to pick a side here.
Price’s condescension, while perhaps aimed at the media, absolutely trickles down to a fanbase and region that he believes takes itself a little too seriously, chest-puffs about how “tough” it is to play in Boston and cannibalizes its own team. And that’s not nice to do to your consumer fanbase.
On the other hand, he’s not exactly wrong in that regard. And I’ll be damned if at least half our own TV content isn’t devoted to smarm, derision and contrived pick-pick-picking at teams the audience roots for.
Acknowledging that and that neither Price, the Boston media nor the fanbase is going to change in the immediate future, the question then becomes is . . . so?
Does it matter that Price likes to send these snark missles at the media and continually exhume the corpse of old agitations? Is it bad for the team, the clubhouse, baseball in general?
Or is it merely an amusing sidelight? David’s thing. The adults with whom he plays are free-thinking individuals who can forge their own relationships with the media and region without being colored by Price’s opinion. It actually provides cover for the rest of the team who might welcome the diversion.
Misery loves company. Does Price’s Eeyore act bring others down with him? Or is it just the face we see while his teammates enjoy a guy who’s a lot of fun to be around and is a really good player?
Take Tuesday night, for instance. Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-4 with four RBI and -- after going 6-for-7 over the past two games -- is up to . . . .199. Instead of either a celebration of Jackie or a blind squirrel/nut dismissal, Price will carry the day. And teammates will be asked all day about David.
And that brings me back to . . . so?
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Maybe because of social media, we get the false illusion that these guys want to be friends with the fanbase. Or -- because of our proximity to them in the media -- we get the idea that a collegial relationship should be the default setting. Not necessarily. They want to be admired. They want to be appreciated. And they generally want it on their terms. They aren’t seeking a give-and-take and a healthy discourse with an exchange of ideas.
And if they don’t get it, some players -- like Price -- aren’t going to let it go but will instead use it as fertilizer and fuel. To the good and the bad.
Recently, it’s been to the good. Price is 7-1 in his last nine starts with a 2.72 ERA. You could make the case that crossing swords just because he feels like it has not benefited him.
Thanks to Tuesday’s snark, Price has set himself up for another case study as to whether or not Senor Shrug is helped or hindered by being David Price.