By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — David Price might have a problem.
No, it’s not his lack of postseason victories as a starting pitcher so much as it is the level to which he is tuned in to folks on Twitter reminding him of that playoff record.
You see, it was around the time of Halloween when Price showed that he was perhaps growing tired of getting criticized for the postseason record. A Twitter said that he was going to dress up as “a playoff start” so that he could scare Price “more than any other costume.” Rather than just ignoring it, Price put a spotlight on it:
He didn’t make another mention of it for a couple of weeks, but then, unprompted, he felt like making a comment about the newish NFL rule which makes PAT attempts much longer than they used to be. But he didn’t feel like making that comment without beating to the punch everyone who was going to reply with an insult about his postseason record.
This past Friday, Price responded to a tweet which sarcastically claimed to have pinpointed the reason the Red Sox fell short of winning the World Series, as a user said it was the lack of bunk beds set up for Price and Jared Carabbis of Barstool Sports and 98.5 The Sports Hub fame. The suggestion was obviously a joke, but still:
And now, two days before Thanksgiving, Price arrived in Hawaii for a relaxing vacation … and then immediately sent out a tweet about losing postseason games.
This might be a problem!
Granted, it could be nothing at all. It takes little time and effort to send a tweet, so Price could just be trying to disarm the angry mob by being “in on the joke.” But there are a number of factors that suggest he might actually be letting the “noise” of Twitter creep into his psyche on a much too regular basis. And it leaves you to wonder what’s going on his head when he actually does the take the mound in a big game. Is he focused on the plan of attack on the hitter, or is he thinking about what BobbyTwitterman63 might say about him if he serves up a home run?
Consider the Halloween tweet. The initial insult was sent by someone who follows 600-plus people but has just 106 followers. His or her profile picture is a cat … or something. Point is, that was a tweet that easily could have and should have been ignored. Yet Price retweeted it and broadcast it as “hatred.” (It was actually a pretty solid joke more than hatred, but you get the idea.)
There’s also Price’s response to CSNNE’s Trenni Kusnierek both during the Red Sox’ celebration in the Yankee Stadium visiting clubhouse after clinching the AL East and after Price lost Game 2 of the ALDS in Cleveland.
First, in New York:
Kusnierek: “David, one of the reasons that you wanted to sign with the Red Sox is because of the roster they have, the potential that they have …”
Price: “No, it was the $217 million they gave me. That’s why I came here. Period. That’s why.”
It was a sarcastic response, but it showed what was at least on his mind in the midst of a champagne celebration.
Price was also asked if he wanted to use the postseason as an opportunity to prove himself as a big-game performer.
“I want to win a championship. This isn’t about me. I’m one of 25,” he said. “If I go out there and stink and we win a world championship, I’ll take that. I’d rather have that than have me go out and throw three complete games and we lose in the ALCS. This isn’t about me.”
That might not have been the perfect thing to say. But his response to some questions a little over a week later, after surrendering five runs over 3.1 innings in his lone postseason start for Boston, was notably worse.
Kusnierek: “How do you combat sort of the frustration that comes with each time everyone brings up the fact that [you’re] still winless in the postseason?”
Price: “Uhh, I’ve got two wins in the playoffs, just not as a starter. But I know good things are coming to me in October baseball. And I know that. I didn’t have good things happen today, and the Indians are playing well. Kluber threw the ball extremely well today. They had good things happen. That’s part of it.”
Price was then asked a follow-up by Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.
Buckley: “David, you’re also 0-8 in the postseason as a starter? What do you do to combat that moving forward? What’s the common thread in those starts?”
Price: “Uhh, move forward. Eliminate that one big pitch. Still, the pitch that Chisenhall hit out — that’s a good pitch. I mean, he put a good swing on it, and that’s part of it. I’ve got to be able to move forward, and I feel like I’ve done that.”
He said in early October that he’s moved forward. His tweets since then tell a different story. And so long as Price appears to be rattled by the topic even being broached, that story will continue to have legs, kicking away underneath the surface.