By Gerard Lombardo – @wickedlinedrive
In 2016, the success of the Red Sox was largely contingent upon the three Davids: Ortiz, Dombrowski and Price. One’s an all-time clutch hitting Boston legend; the second is responsible for constructing a championship worthy roster.
And the final piece of the trifecta is a complete and utter dink.
Yet, the hopes of bringing home a championship trophy can be greatly increased or reduced, based on the performance of aforementioned dink. And this leaves Sox fanatics in somewhat of a quandary as to how to feel about the left handed Vanderbilt grad. We do have a choice, however: do we continue to send negative vibes towards David Price and his Twitter account, boo him off the mound after a poor performance, and flock to talk radio shows, demanding him to be packaged in wily trade scenarios? Or do we take a deep breath, let bygones be bygones, and finally start to support the $30M man?
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the former ace, and that’s 100% his doing. He shot himself in the foot before ever even buttoning up a Majestic Sox jersey, when he called Big Papi out in 2014, remarking that the Red Sox great thought he was “bigger than the game,” this after Ortiz accurately referred to the Ray/Tiger as a little bitch… Papi has never really been one to mince his words, after all. This small spat left a bad taste in Sox Nation’s collective mouths, so when Ben Cherington signed Price to a mega deal, not everybody was on board with it.
David’s continuing antics and escapades have been more documented than a David Attenborough Planet Earth special, ranging from his decision to only speak to the media on pitching days, to getting mad, at the same media, for not getting to know him well enough (trust me, “Astro’s Dad,” the world knows plenty). There was the Evan Drellich incident early on this year – which Rick Porcello unnecessarily injected himself in, furthering the notion that he too is a prima donna – where Drellich got railed in the clubhouse for doing his job, which Price has failed to do so many times in a Boston outfit. And lastly, we don’t even need to rehash the Eckersley cockamamie sideshow, but it’s worthy of a mention, simply to validate his poor behavior.
So why cheer the guy on? Well, this post season, both David and the fans got a taste of what it would be like if we could all solely focus on his pitching performance. His line:
6.2 IP, 0 R, 6 K, 2 BB (1 intentional)
Granted it’s a small sample, but it’s something. And a hell of a lot better than his career 2-9 record, further defiled by a 5.03 ERA. Most importantly, it was a step in the right direction. It’s something to talk about other than his disabled list stints and E-Rod airplane defense. So, it would behoove of the fan base to consider offering Price unwavering support as the most constructive and beneficial option. It’s not the popular choice, but it’s the right one. Reason being, he is one of the 25. Hate the guy all you want, the Sox have a better shot at achieving success if the Price of 2012 or 2014 shows up, rather than 2016-2017. The David of old can help the club win games. From a contractual longevity standpoint, there’s also the opt out clause that can be triggered by David if he so desires following 2018. A poor season, or injured season, would result in him getting less money on the market, and no matter how much he claims to dislike the city, the fans, the media, basically everything with the exception of his “brothers,” a player of his ego and magnitude isn’t going to take an unnecessary pay cut.
It’s an uphill battle for David Price, and he knows it. Will he continue to diss the great fans of the team, refusing to acknowledge that it is our love of the franchise, and the game itself, that continue to churn out ticket sales, annually exceeding 2.8 million per Fenway season, which fuel ownership’s ability to sign players to extravagant contracts? I hope not. I hope he can gather himself, even if it is just for one more year in a Sox uni, and come to the conclusion that the 162 game battle will be far easier if he garners the support of New Englanders. Because if not, if he struggles and drags the club down with him, the three David’s of 2016 will be but a memory at the beginning of 2019.