David Price’s airplane spat with Dennis Eckersley reads like ancient history. Since then, Price finally delivered in the postseason and led the Red Sox to their fourth World Series title of the century. Though Price’s enthusiasm about Boston still appears tepid –– he said in Spring Training he opted back into the final four years of his contract because of the money –– there seems to be a mutual understanding between Price and Red Sox fans. The $217 million left-hander will do his job every fifth day, and in return, the Fenway Faithful will support him. This is more of a pragmatic marriage than love affair, and that’s just fine.
At least, that’s the attitude Eckerlsey now appears to take with Price. In a Boston Globe feature story by Chad Finn, Eck addresses his feelings on the Price incident two years after the fact. Suffice to say, there doesn’t appear to be any love lost between the two.
“I didn’t know how to deal with that,” Eckersley said to Finn about the airplane verbal assault. “I don’t plan on saying a word to him, I don’t plan on seeing him, never. I don’t really give a (expletive) one way or another. I don’t think he really cares one way or the other.”
In July 2017, Price confronted Eckersley on the team plane after he had uttered a one-word quip –– “yuck” –– about Eduardo Rodriguez’s stat line in a minor league rehab start. The ambush ignited an extended summer of controversy.
Since then, Eckersley hasn’t shied away from bluntly assessing players. Most recently, he drew the ire of Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman, whom he criticized for excessive celebrations on the mound.
Good analysts are not concerned about making friends with their subjects, and given how much turmoil Eckersley has lived through, it doesn’t seem like being buddy-buddy with players is high on his list. It’s another reason to appreciate his candid presence in the booth all summer long.