Details from the spat between Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price and broadcaster Dennis Eckersley have emerged, and they paint a dramatic picture. Price reportedly lashed out at Eckersley, and told him to “get the [expletive] out of here,” after the broadcaster made a critical comment about one of Eduardo Rodriguez’s rehab starts.
Price grew angry after Eckersley responded to a graphic featuring Rodriguez’s stat line from the start by saying “yuck” during one of NESN’s broadcasts, according to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. Eckersley provides color commentary and post-game analysis for the network.
After hearing that comment, Price decided to confront Eckersley on the team plane.
On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!”
When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!”
Many players applauded.
That sounds like a scene out of every ’80s movie. Price and his group of bad dudes waited to harass Eckersley. Price was basically Biff Tannen from “Back to the Future.”
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s try to break down the encounter by looking at it from both sides.
Eckersley was just doing his job. As an analyst, he’s supposed to be critical and fair when breaking down players. His “yuck” wasn’t directed at Rodriguez, but at his stat line. Rodriguez allowed six runs, five earned, on nine hits over three innings. “Yuck” is an accurate way to sum that up.
You may think that criticism is harsh, but you can’t question Eckersley’s credentials. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher who played 24 years in the majors. During that time, he experienced highs and low just like everyone else. When he’s critical, he’s speaking from experience. Players should respect his opinion. If they can’t, they should at least be able to deal with it respectfully.
Price is merely sticking up for a teammate in a notoriously harsh media environment. He had Rodriguez’s back, and that likely goes a long way in the clubhouse. The fact that “many players applauded” not only proves that, but also tells you that Eckersley is not well-liked in the locker room.
Price is not the only player to have an awkward run-in with Eckersley either. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. asked for a photo opportunity with the broadcaster in 2015 so that he could take a shot at him on Twitter, according to Shaughnessy.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. (@JackieBradleyJr) August 9, 2015
It’s not just Price who has been frustrated by Eckersley’s comments. It’s multiple players.
Whether they are expressing their frustrations in the appropriate manner is a fair question. Can the Red Sox simply not handle criticism, or is Eckersley being too harsh in his assessments?
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