David Price doesn’t seem to handle criticism well. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)
David Price is the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history. And he’s losing his mind because of Twitter trolls and bloviating talk radio hosts. We’re witnessing the self-destruction of a man.
In a bizarre interview with Stan Grossfeld of the Boston Globe, Price laments the treatment he received in Boston last year. He led the league in starts and innings pitched, but also gave up more hits than any other starting pitcher as well. In his lone postseason outing, Price surrendered five runs over 3.1 innings. The Red Sox wound getting swept by the Indians, and his career playoff record as a starter fell to 0-8.
Given Price’s astronomical salary, it was an underwhelming debut season. As a result, he faced some heat. The vitriol wasn’t immense –– Tom Brady’s Week 5 return against the Browns overshadowed the Red Sox’s October flop –– but his Twitter mentions probably weren’t pretty. Dan Shaughnessy wrote a mean thing about him in the Globe, too. If Price can’t handle that, imagine how he would’ve fared when the Red Sox were the No. 1 team around here.
Throughout his conversation with Grossfeld, it’s apparent Price is paranoid. He rants about Red Sox fans being out to get him, and bemoans sports writers for not learning about his charity. Nearly the entire interview should disturb Red Sox management, but the most troublesome exchanges are below:
Q. What is your passion?
A. I have a foundation, Project One Four. That’s one of the things that honestly chafed me about being in Boston — with the reporters, not one time did anybody take the time to get to know me or my foundation or anything I do away from the field?
Baseball writers get paid to cover Price as a baseball player. They don’t get paid to publicize his charitable endeavors. That may seem callous, but it’s the truth. It doesn’t bode well for Price if he doesn’t understand that.
Q. One of your heroes is Satchel Paige, right?
A. Oh yeah.
Q. So Satchel Paige always said, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.” So why are you still looking behind you on this 0-8 (playoff record) thing?
A. It’s what’s going to be said. If I say it first, what do you have to say about me? You have nothing to say about me personally. That’s the only thing you have to say.
Price, who will make $30 million this season, is apparently taking preemptive strikes against anonymous critics on Twitter. As a result, he does things like tweet about his playoff record while he’s on vacation in Hawaii. The egg avatars own real estate in his head. With that attitude, he couldn’t make it as a member of Kirk & Callahan’s “Casting Couch” –– never mind being ace of the Red Sox.
Q. Tell me something about you that people don’t know. Surprise me.
A. People in Boston don’t know anything about me. The only thing I have to do is pitch good. People don’t care about what I do or the type of person that I am. That doesn’t matter.
Q. It matters to me.
A. It doesn’t matter to these people in Boston. I’ve got to go out there and earn respect by pitching well. Period. That’s the only thing that’s going to turn the page for me in Boston. I’ve got to go out there and dominate. People don’t care what I do off the field.
Shockingly, Red Sox fans will judge Price by how he performs on the field. This should be common sense for any professional athlete, especially an 11-year Major League veteran.
Q. What size are your shoes?
A. 13½. If you lived it and you told me they cared, OK. If you experienced it on a day-to-day basis — everything — you wouldn’t think that. They don’t care. I’m David Price the pitcher; I’m not a person.
It seems like Price lives in an alternative universe. He took the mound 17 times at Fenway last season, and was greeted with nothing but applause during every single start. The “everything” Price is referring to appears to be people chiding him on talk radio and social media. Just view us as white noise, David. It will be better for your personal wellbeing.
Q. We can do something about it. People don’t know you’re bringing coffee to the trainers at 6:45 a.m.
A. People don’t care. I’m going to catch crap for bringing in Starbucks — sorry this is not Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m going to catch crap for that 100 percent. I could quote John 3:16 right now and I would get nothing but negativity. Period. You can’t please everybody.
These sound like the ratings of a crazy person, not somebody who’s ready to battle through a forearm injury and deliver a bounce back season. Up to this point, Carl Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million contract has been considered the worst in Red Sox history. But depending on how Price fares in 2017, his seven-year, $217 million deal could threaten to usurp it.