July 26, 2017

Buckley: "Fake Tough Guy" Farrell Has Empowered Price (A "Whiny, Insecure Poser")

Various articles and opinions on the David Price/Dennis Eckersley incident:

On Tuesday, manager John Farrell appeared on WEEI's "Dale & Holley" show and was asked whether or not Price likes playing in Boston. Farrell did not say very much: "[T]here are probably some things that he might not agree with, he might not personally like."

Farrell rambled on about his conversations with Eckersley since Price's confrontation nearly a month ago:
I've had interactions with Eck, yes. I have, yeah. Whether it's been at the hotel, or whether it's been at the ballpark, there's been interactions there, yes. ... At the time when we did meet, which was down in Texas, as I mentioned, and then again in the ballpark there. I'm aware that people reached out to him the morning after the incident when we were headed in to Toronto. So, knowing that that was in place, you know, I followed with my conversations with Eck as I've always done. They've been cordial, there's been professional respect on both side and I think my relationship with him is positive in a professional way. ... [Farrell is pressed on if he apologized to Eckersley] ... Yeah, that's a no.
Lou Merloni, WEEI:
Farrell hasn't apologized to Eck, which I think is a disgrace. An absolute disgrace. But he hasn't for a reason, so what is that reason? Is it because he feels that he apologizes to Eck than Price comes to him and says, "Dude you're siding with Eck. You think I did something wrong here. Screw you."
WEEI's Alex Reimer says (quite hyperbolically, I'd say) that Price's "poisonous sensitivity could pollute the Red Sox for years":
Perhaps the most revealing portion of Dan Shaughnessy's expose ... is the support the $30 million hurler appears to receive from his teammates. According to Shaughnessy, "many players" applauded Price at the end of his tirade ...

This is at least the second time in three years that Eckersley, who's often more critical than his NESN colleagues, has been the target of a player's ire. In 2015, Red Sox centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. posed for a picture with the Hall of Famer, sarcastically thanking Eckersley in the caption for doubting his skill level. Eckersley apparently didn't know Bradley was using him as a passive aggressive photo prop. ...

Though Shaughnessy says members of the Red Sox brass have spoken with Eckersley since the plane incident, neither Price nor Farrell have relayed an apology to the color commentator. That means this behavior is encouraged, or at least overlooked, within the clubhouse.
Sean McAdam, Boston Sports Journal:
In both Tampa and Detroit, Price showed a penchant for being thin-skinned when it came to media coverage, but that's escalated during his stay in Boston.

Some club sources are "mystified" over the depths of Price's displeasure with his life in Boston, and multiple meetings with club personnel – at the staff and executive level – have yet to change things much. ...

According to two sources, the Red Sox have had multiple conversations with Price about ignoring external criticism, with little avail. Price is the team's most veteran starter and his influence is considerable on the rest of the clubhouse, leading to fears that he could negatively impact some of the club's core of younger players.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that Farrell finds himself uncomfortably in the middle of the matter, unwilling or unable to criticize Price, perhaps out of fear that such a move would cost him in the clubhouse. ...

The current edition of the Red Sox, while nowhere near as dysfunctional as, say, the 2001 Sox ... nevertheless appears to be a team in transition, with its most senior, highest-paid and accomplished pitcher dominating the internal conversation.
Steve Buckley of the Herald lays the blame squarely at Farrell's feet. He writes that the square-jawed manager is nothing but a "fake tough guy" who has "empowered the whiny, insecure poser that is David Price":
The trouble began on June 7, following the Sox' 8-0 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. As the media was entering the clubhouse Price pulled Comcast SportsNet New England reporter Evan Drellich aside for a chat that quickly devolved into a one-sided screaming match.

Price had a few dismissive words for me. And then he dropped an F-bomb on MLB.com reporter Ian Browne.

Price closed out his clubhouse tirade with this: "(Expletive) them! (Expletive) them all. All of them." ...

During his pregame meeting with the media two days later at Fenway Park, the manager ladled out the requisite niceties about "respect for your job" and that "we recognize there's a responsibility by all our guys to address the media," but he then lectured the gathering about the hazards of Twitter and about how accountability is a "two-way street."

The entire point of this lame exercise was for Accountability John to convey to David Price that he has his back, that they are buds, that, in essence, it's perfectly OK and acceptable on the 2017 Red Sox to verbally attack other people.

Thus empowered, Price sought out Eckersley as his next victim. ...

I want to believe there are players in the Red Sox clubhouse who have had it with David Price. But there is no David Ortiz to fill the room with his booming voice and oversized personality, and it appears none of the vets are willing to step up.
CBS Boston quoted several fans who expressed disgust at the Red Sox's front office. However, this comment -- "This is probably the most unlikable Red Sox team since 2001 or 2012." -- I don't agree with at all. I really like watching most of the guys on this team. (I do wish they would all start hitting again, however.)

SoSHer grimshaw:
Merloni did mention yesterday that he had heard the same stuff that Shank had reported, though he threw in that there was also a hair comment directed at Eck, and that also some players were uncomfortable about the incident.
SoSHer DennyDoyle'sBoil:
[B]aloney that this is just Price protecting EdRo. If he said that ... you don't need to be Freud to know that Price is also talking about himself here. I don't like Price making excuses covered with a fig leaf of supposedly protecting a young player.
SoSHer Byrdbrain:
Bradford was on EEI today [Tuesday] and shared audio he had of an interview he had with Sale last week.

This was a day that Price pitched which means that Price owned the music. During the typical time that the media hangs around the clubhouse and talks to players Price turned up some awful techno music to ridiculously high levels and according to those who were there did it for the sole reason of making the reporters job impossible to do. Bradfo stated that the volume of the music was absolutely unprecedented for that time of day and the only time it ever was nearly that loud was after a big win.

As I said Bradford shared the audio and you could barely hear a word that was spoken even though he stated he had the recorder right in Sale's face. ...

[Price] seems like a thin skinned dick.


allan said...

Tweet from an (otherwise) insane person: "Eck is a HOFer, no one else in this matter is. How is him doing his job, exceptionally well IMO, an issue for ANYONE? Grow the F up and win."

Maxwell Horse said...

I think it cannot be overstated just how poorly Farrell came across in that Dale and Holley interview. My jaw practically dropped at how ineptly he handled things. Instead of smoothing things over, or dismissing the issue in the standard milquetoast/diplomatic way that all managers do, he actually made me feel WORSE about the whole situation; made me have a lower opinion of Price, Farrell and the team as a whole.

One thing that might be lost in that interview is that Farrell actually seemed to confirm the validity of the Shaughnessy article, seemingly every detail to boot. Not only that, but he implied that he felt the way everything went down was somehow justified or okay. He gave the impression that Price, the team and Farrell himself feel that Eck got what was coming to him, because he dared offer fair criticism in the course of doing his job. (I'm reminded of the end of a Few Good Men where Jack Nicholson is finally goaded into shouting, "You're goddamn right I did," in regards to the Code Red. Except instead of coming across as Jack Nicholson cool, Farrell's admissions were conveyed in his typical neutered cadences.)

He even seemed to confirm that yes, Price was in fact "protecting" Eduardo Rodriguez from Eck's "yuck" comment, which was apparently crossing some kind of line of decency. (If ERod looked bad by association before, this makes him look really bad. One cannot get the image out one's mind of Eduardo--who already seemed kind of fragile to begin with--running to big brother Price in tears and pleading with him to "get back" at the mean mustache man from TV for saying "Yuck.")

I know this will make me sound like the typical WEEI-listening sucker who falls prey to every click-baity, soap-opera manufactured storyline that the Boston Sports media likes to put out there, but goddamn, these really *are* just a bunch of whiny, overpaid brats with no sense of perspective. I mean, holy crap.

I know the typical rejoinder to all of this is, "Whatever. Just wait until Price wins in the postseason. You and I both know you'll love him then!"

Uh, no. I can honestly say that even if Price pitches lights out in the postseason and they end up winning the World Series, my opinion of him will still be pretty friggin' low. Dude is a narcissistic assclown.

allan said...

And it seems, from reading a bunch of articles, that unofficial team captain Dustin Pedroia totally supports Price's actions. If several Red Sox players have a long-standing problem with Eck, then Pedroia is likely one of them (since he is one of the relatively few players with many years in Boston).

Also, it has been implied that because of the incident with JBJ and how he "got back" at Eck via the Twitter photo, that Eck decided to cut back on road travel. Which, if true, makes Eck sound pretty thin-skinned, too.

Maxwell Horse said...

I think Eck is actually in a more precarious situation than has been discussed. People always talk of how managers these days don't really have any power to discipline high-priced star players, no real leverage. The argument goes that these players know they have guaranteed money and these long-term contracts. And they know that the front office is more apt to simply cut bait with a manager who butts heads with a player than to cut ties with said player.

If Eck truly feels that the clubhouse is aligned against him, he probably wants to do everything he can to prevent things from escalating. Why? Because he knows he's infinitely more expendable than players like Price. If the situation becomes toxic enough, Eck might be out of a job.

I've heard people ask, "Why hasn't Eck said anything publicly? It really couldn't have been that bad, because if it was, Eck would be going on television and ripping into Price and airing all the dirty laundry." Uh, no. I mean Eck could do that, of course, but only if he planned to resign from NESN immediately after.

allan said...

NESN dumped the seemingly very-loyal Orsillo (who, as far as I can recall, never talked bad about any player), and they had to have known that move would not go over well with a significant percentage of viewers. So firing the equally-liked, but blunt-talking Eckersley certainly would not bother them. But then does NESN want a reputation of hiring only ass kissers? ... They likely don't care, just like they often don't seem to care about making the game a priority during broadcasts.

allan said...

A source who witnessed the incident told WEEI’s Rob Bradford that Pedroia was not “near the group involved” and “not at all involved in player reaction.” On Wednesday, CBS Boston’s Fred Toucher tweeted that a “source close to Eckersley” told him Pedroia was “cheering aggressively.”