FORT MYERS, Fla. — No one played with a chip on their shoulder in 2018 more than David Price.
It was a rocky couple of years to start off the left-hander’s Red Sox career. From his confrontation with Dennis Eckersley, to his woes against the Yankees and well-documented struggles in the postseason, Price wasn’t exactly an overwhelming fan favorite in Boston.
That remained the case for much of the '18 campaign. Even in a dominant seven-start stretch from May to June, fans were hesitant to forgive. That’s when I asked what it would take for Price to earn that forgiveness, Most of the responses were “when he beats the Yankees” or “when he shows up in the postseason.”
Well, Price accomplished both. He was an integral part of the team’s postseason run, and one could make an argument that he deserved World Series MVP honors.
He finally held all the cards, and he made sure we all realized it.
Still, three months after earning a ring, Price has to find a new source of motivation. The doubters are few and far between, and for the doubters who are still out there, it’ll be far more difficult to get inside Price’s head.
That being the case, I asked Price how he maintains the same sense of urgency heading into the new season as a world champion.
“I mean, when Cora hugged me on the field right after we won, the first thing I said to him was, ‘I want to do it again next year,’ ” Price said Thursday at JetBlue Park. “I think the first time you ever go through something like that, you don’t really grasp what’s going on and get to enjoy it the way you should enjoy that moment. To go through it once, to experience all of that, I think if you get back to that point again in your career, you can really kind of sit back and take in everything and it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to having the opportunity to do.”
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As for his feelings toward fans who may have given up on him before his standout October, Price insists there’s no ill-will.
“Fans, I love you guys,” Price said. “I have no problem with you. I get asked about you all the time. I’m sorry. I love you guys. That’s it.”
So, with the naysayers silenced, the fans on his side, and the trump card firmly in his hand, the upcoming campaign will be the first of its kind for Price. The only question to ask now is this: Will that be a benefit or be a detriment to a player who thrived with a chip on his shoulder?
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