The Red Sox suffered a blow to their goal of winning baseball games on Friday when they announced that David Price would not only be scratched from his scheduled start but also placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a reemergence of his elbow injury that plagued him early in the year. In terms of on-the-field impact, this is a big deal. Although he hasn’t been the second-best pitcher in the rotation for most of the year — Drew Pomeranz, hello — but the expectation from many was that he’d be that guy for the rest of the year. Prior to his last outing in Anaheim, when he first began to feel some soreness in that elbow, he looked like a guy who was ready to go on a strong run to finish the season. Now, the Red Sox are without one of their top pitchers and instead are turning to Doug Fister as a stopgap. None of us are a fan of that, to be sure. Perhaps this will make them more likely to make a deal for a starter before Monday’s trade deadline. I’d be surprised, but it’s certainly more likely now than it was just 24 hours ago.
This post isn’t about the on-the-field implications of Price’s injury, though. No, this is about the validity of the injury itself. It’s about something that shouldn’t even need to be discussed but it’s become a real topic because of some shitheels who were okay with speculating wildly and irresponsibly about how real this injury actually was. The logic is that Price was expected to face an onslaught of boos and overall anger from the fanbase — something that wouldn’t have exactly been undeserved after his incident with Dennis Eckersley — and that he and the team decided to give him a couple starts off to let things cool off. There’s also a secondary line of thinking that says the team is using this DL stint as a punishment of their $217 million man. To be clear: This is an insane, egotistical line of thinking. There’s literally no reason to believe Price is using this as a way to avoid boos other than you thinking you have that much impact over the decisions of a professional athlete. Spoiler alert: You don’t.
I feel like I probably don’t have to give reasons for why this isn’t some master plan cooked up by Price and/or the higher ups in the Red Sox organization. If you’re coming to the plate with these kind of accusations, the burden of proof is on you. You don’t get to publicly speculate about something like this and then just walk away without providing any semblance of proof. Still, there are obvious reasons why this isn’t some grand conspiracy theory, so let’s take a second to look at those.
For one thing, Price is coming up on an opt-out clause at the end of next season. Surely, the people hurling these accusations are aware of this as it’s become their life’s mission to get Price to opt out of his deal when that time comes. If Price truly does want to opt out when he gets the chance — and I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that this is his preference at this point — going on the disabled list with the same elbow injury for the second time would not help that case. If he really just wanted to avoid some boos, he and the team would have come up with some other minor injury or illness.
On top of that, the Red Sox are in the middle of an incredibly tight race for a spot in the postseason. They are jockeying for position in the American League East with both the Yankees and the Rays, and seemingly every team in the league is within spitting distance of the wild card. It would make no sense for a team with postseason dreams to sit one of their best pitchers and start handing starts to Fister instead. If, in some crazy turn of events, this actually is what happened, literally everyone in the organization needs to be fired.
Honestly, this rant isn’t even really directed at the fans who are latching on to this nonsensical conspiracy theory. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a dumb thing to believe, but whatever. Fans of every team in every sport believe dumb things, and I include myself in that group. This is directed more at the media members who are starting and perpetuating this theory. Even more to the point, it’s directed at members of the media who have sources in the organization but are still throwing out wild speculation or even entertaining the thought. These are the people who could do some actual reporting and provide real proof on this. It would be a legendary story if they could actually get the details. Of course, nobody is doing this because they don’t actually believe this is true. And if by some miracle they are doing this reporting, it’s still unfathomably irresponsible to release the speculation before getting the facts.
Actually, I lied. This is sort of directed at the fans, too. There are dumb things you can believe — like believing the Celtics should pay Isaiah Thomas whatever he wants, which is a dumb thing I believe — but this is the kind of stuff you need to avoid. Just stop giving those certain sects of the media a reason to perpetuate this kind of bullshit. They only do it because people latch on! This not me saying you can’t be upset with Price — he did a bad thing on that plane and has done himself no favors in the public eye over the course of the season. Still, stick to reality. All I ask for is a little common sense. Suggesting that Price is sitting out because he’s afraid of being booed or because the team is punishing him displays a complete lack of common sense.