So, Wednesday was fun! Not only did the Red Sox lose 8-0 to the Yankees in a terrible game during which just about nothing went according to plan, there was also some controversy around David Price and the media, because of course there was.
All of this started during the game on Wednesday when the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy published an article in which Price indicated that he was done talking to the media. In the article, all of which you should read for some reasonable commentary from Shaughnessy (I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true), he says that he will only make himself available to the media on days he is pitching. On the other days, he will keep to himself and his teammates.
Of course, people had some Opinions about this decision. They said it was indicative of his inability to handle playing in Boston. Even though, ya know, it’s well within his rights to not talk to the media. It also makes sense when you consider how he’s been portrayed by certain sections of said media over the last couple of years. There was also the common opinion that, if he won’t talk to the media, he should get off social media for the rest of the season. That is a hilarious point because the two things are not related at all. If you feel the need to tell a grown man how to live his life, well, stop.
Anyway, I wish Price had taken his own advice after the game on Wednesday, because things escalated quickly after reporters made their way to the clubhouse. You can read the full story here, but I’ll give you the short version. Apparently, as reporters were heading into John Farrell’s office, Price held CSN’s Evan Drellich back for their own private conversation. Apparently, things got heated and the yelling and f-bombs were heard by other members of the media.
I think it’s fair to say that this is not a good look for Price, particularly after saying he was done talking to the media. This is only going to give them more fuel with which to rip him, and that’s something he’s apparently had a problem with (probably rightfully so, too). There are ways to handle problems with the media, and this wasn’t it.
On the other hand, if you’ve followed the reactions to this story, it’s clear that things are being blown out of proportion. Suddenly, it’s becoming a referendum about how “soft” the Red Sox pitcher is and how much he can’t handle the city of Boston. Get out of here with that. This narrative bothers me more than just about any narrative in this city. Not being able to handle Boston is rarely a thing — though I acknowledge there are instances in which it’s true — and it’s particularly frustrating to hear it coming from the media themselves. They acknowledge that the media can be extremely tough, sometimes over-the-top tough, at times, yet instead of trying to change that it’s on the players to accept that. That’s fine, but the players don’t have to accept it. They can simply ignore it if they so choose.
Plus, there’s the fact that he has been able to perform in Boston. He obviously didn’t pitch up to expectations last year, but he was far from bad. In fact, some advanced metrics had him among the elite in the game. Then, he dealt with the full brunt of the Boston media this winter and the spring that followed, but still made it through his rehab assignment and has managed to look very good since his return. There’s still a long way to go, but he’s done pretty well in pushing the big bad Boston media out of his head when it’s time to pitch.
You’ll be hearing all day that Price doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that the media hasn’t been hard on him. He’s just overreacting. That, of course, is largely coming from the media. Perhaps the right course of action, though, is just listening to the pitcher and taking what he has to say at face value. He’s not happy with how he’s been covered, and whether it’s true or not it’s how he feels. It doesn’t matter how much money he’s making or where he decided to play. He doesn’t have to talk to people if he doesn’t trust them to portray him in an accurate light. Unfortunately, he did talk to them Wednesday night and I wish he hadn’t, because this is going to be held against him for a long time.
In the end, everything about this is stupid. The media getting so up in arms about Price’s outburst is undoubtedly over-the-top. Price’s outburst itself was dumb and something the lefty probably regrets. We’ve all been frustrated to the point of doing something we regret, but it doesn’t make it a better look. Using this as a referendum on Price’s toughness, though, is the dumbest part. If that’s you, judging someone’s character from this far outside, well, you should seriously consider cutting it out. Crazy, I know.
Ultimately, as we’ve all come know over the years, it’s the performance on the field that’s going to dictate the narrative around Price going forward. He didn’t earn himself any favors in the media over the last 24 hours, but if he continues to pitch like an ace no one is going to care. Reporters may not be happy with not being able to interview him four out of every five days, but that’s not a huge deal to fans. Price doesn’t look good after his outburst, and the media doesn’t look good with its reactions this morning. Everything will look good if he puts together another strong start in New York on Thursday night.