By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — David Price has had an interesting offseason. After a flop of a postseason start, Price first took offense to online insults but then roasted himself on Twitter several times about his playoff misfortunes. He vowed that he would make Boston fans love him. He likewise vowed to stay in Boston for his whole contract, and also slipped in a casual mention that he’s been the recipient of racial taunts in Boston. He was scratched from his first spring training start and appeared to be on the road to Tommy John surgery, but he received good news from Dr. James Andrews and is now back in line to pitch for the Red Sox in 2017.
That is quite a lot of activity, and in a rather unique interview in The Boston Globe, Price said that Red Sox fans just don’t see him as a human being. They see him only as a piece of pitching meat, something that’s simply expected to perform.
“People in Boston don’t know anything about me,” Price told Stan Grossfeld. “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.”
The word “unique” was used earlier because the interview seemed to be as much of a blank canvas for Price to present whatever image he wanted as it was a real interview. He was asked how his dog is doing, what shoe size he wears, and how crazy the Boston driving is, among other conversational topics. But even given those parameters, Price shifted the conversation into making himself the victim of something.
“[The type of person I am] doesn’t matter to these people in Boston. I’ve got to go out there and earn respect by pitching well. Period,” Price said. “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. … No, no chance. They don’t care. If they care, I wouldn’t have went through all that crap that I went through last year. If they cared. Period. You have to be in my shoes.”
While Price didn’t specify “the crap” that he valiantly endured last season, he seemingly attributes none of it to the fact that he became the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history when he signed with the Red Sox. While any racial taunts and personal attacks would obviously cross the line, there is no doubt that signing a $217 million deal to pitch in any city that loves baseball will bring about critics when the player in question doesn’t deliver at an All-Star level.
But to Price … well, he’s pleading ignorance on his own paycheck.
“I didn’t feel any pressure last year. I wanted to pitch really well because I was coming to a new team. It wasn’t because of the contract,” Price said. “I don’t know how much money I made last year. I don’t worry about that stuff.”
Let’s run that one again, in case you missed it: “I don’t know how much money I made last year.”
(It was $30 million, for the record.)
(He’ll make another $30 million this year and next year.)
(He’ll make $31 million in 2019.)
(And then he’ll make $32 million in 2020, 2021 and 2022.)
This assertion that he does not know how much money he made does go against a tweet that Price sent last September, which specifically referenced his $217 million contract.
Again, personal attacks about Price’s family or anything like that? Problematic. Of course. But Price did nothing in this interview to dispel the notion that he’s hyper-aware to every single word of criticism said against him.
“People don’t care. I’m going to catch crap for bringing in Starbucks — sorry this is not Dunkin’ Donuts,” Price said. “I’m going to catch crap for that 100 percent.”
The $217 million man might “catch crap” from a random stooge on Twitter because of where he bought coffee.
Price has insisted many times — including in this interview — that he’s mentally strong enough to succeed in the playoffs. But for as long as he keeps raising the issue himself, and for as long as he spins a story of the world being out to get him when he’s getting lobbed some very amicable questions for a story intended to boost his profile, folks on the outside will be left to wonder just how accurate that self-assessment might be.