BOSTON -- David Price is not backing down.
Two years after his airplane confrontation with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley permanently tarnished Price's reputation in Boston, the left-hander explained why he fired back at comments the broadcaster made in a recent Boston Globe profile.
Requesting to address the assembled media at about 3:15 on Wednesday, Price said that he offered to meet with Eckersley shortly after the 2017 incident and that he planned to apologize, but Eckersley didn't show.
Asked why Eckersley's comments bothered him, Price very calmly unloaded.
"The fact that it was two years ago, over two years ago now," Price said. "The fact that he wanted to move on and since then he's went on the radio and talked about it, done it again. In 2017 I addressed it. I told you guys in front of the camera that I wished I'd have handled it differently. I did it again in 2018 in spring training on day 1, I said the same thing.
"We had a meeting set up in 2017, here at the field, got here early. Hour and a half, two hours after I get here, they come and tell me that he's not coming. We had a meeting, he backed out. I was going to tell him. I apologize, I didn't handle it the right way, and it continues to come up. There's no reason for it. Honestly, I just think it's trash."
Price went on to praise Eckersley's Hall of Fame career before suggesting he was not a popular player.
"I saw his special on MLB Network. It was cool," Price said. "The one thing that definitely stood out to me, he had zero former teammates in that interview. Not one, talking about him. It was him, talking about himself.
"If anybody ever does a special on me after baseball, I won't need to go on that interview. I will have former teammates, I'll have former coaches, they can all vouch for me. He didn't have that. To me, that's all you need to know. That tells the entire story right there. My teammates will vouch for me. My coaches will vouch for me. He doesn't have that. So he has to vouch for himself."
With the Red Sox on the outside of the playoff standings looking in, now seems like a bad time to address old grievances, but Price explained why he fired back.
"I'm going to stick up for myself at all times," he said. "I don't care what backlash I get, negative attention, I'm fine with that. I'm going to speak up for myself, I'm going to stand up for myself, and he either needs to move on or we can meet. He says he wants to move on? Stop talking about it. That's the way I feel about it.
"That's absolutely what disappoints me the most. He wants to move on, but he continues to go on the radio or do interviews about it. If you want to move on, move on. We're two grown men. We can meet. Ain't nothing going to happen. I yelled at you. I'm sure everybody in here's been yelled at. It was unfortunate that it happened, I wanted to tell him that face to face, and he chose not to show up. So that was that."
Price was asked if Eckersley's comments criticizing the boisterous celebrations of Toronto's Marcus Stroman, one of Price's closest friends, were somehow directed at the Red Sox left-hander.
"I don't know. Have you seen videos of Dennis Eckersley pitching?" Price asked. "You've seen the stuff that he did when he struck somebody out? Really? Shooting them with a finger gun? Stuff like that? Come on. Stroman's out there yelling, 'Yeah?' No. He needs to wake up."
At the end of the day, Price wants Eckersley to stop referencing the incident. It should be noted that Eck's comments were relatively benign in the lengthy Chad Finn piece:
"I don't plan on saying a word to him, I don't plan on seeing him, never," Eckersley said. "I don't really give a (expletive) one way or another. I don't think he really cares one way or the other."
On that point, Price agreed.
"I don't care," he said. "Say he doesn't want to talk about it, like he said, he wants to move on. You want to move on, you move on. I've already tried to reach out to him. If he wants to meet, we can meet. I'm fine with it. I'll apologize to him face to face. This is my third time now in front of the media. I'm sure he'll speak about it again.
"That was two years ago," Price added. "Two years. Close to 800 days. Come on, dude. I wish I would've handled it differently, absolutely. This is the third time I've said that in front of you guys. That feeling hasn't changed. It happened, I dealt with it, I moved on. He obviously hasn't."
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