You would think interpersonal beef that arises out of one person saying one single non-R-rated word about a third party could not possible last longer than, say, a couple weeks. Turns out you would be way wrong about that. The dumb beef between Red Sox pitcher David Price and NESN broadcaster Dennis Eckersley is now wrapping up its second year, with no sign of abating.
Back in July of 2017, Price ambushed Eckersley on a team flight—NESN’s crew flies with the team on road trips—and chewed him out over Eckersley saying “yuck” about the performance of pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez during a minor league rehab appearance, when Rodríguez’s lousy stats from the game were shown during a Red Sox broadcast. Price, in a moment of spectacular foolishness, later quipped that “some people just don’t understand how hard this game is,” leaving the world to wonder whether Price knew anything of Eckersley’s history in baseball.
Eckersley was asked about that exchange recently by Chad Finn, whose profile of Eckersley ran this week in the Boston Globe. It turns out he’s still bothered by what went down that day, and so he and Price mostly avoid each other:
“I didn’t know how to deal with that. 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.”
These extremely uncontroversial comments eventually were seen by Price, who couldn’t resist going in, first on Twitter:
Let’s set aside the surprising revelation that apparently there was only one date and time when it was possible for Price to apologize to Eckersley, and that by backing out of that one meeting Eckersley has apparently made it impossible for Price to ever deliver the apology he obviously intended to offer with complete sincerity. ESPN reported that Price was so het up by Eckersley’s comments in the Globe profile that he went so far as to ask to speak to assembled media Wednesday. To apologize? Sadly, no.
“Honestly, I just think it’s trash. He had an unbelievable career and he’s a Hall of Famer,” Price said. “I saw his special on MLB Network. It was cool. The one thing that stood out to me was that he had zero former teammates in that interview. Not one talking about him. It was him talking about himself.
“If anybody ever does a special on me after baseball, I won’t need to go on that interview. I will have former teammates. I will have former coaches. He didn’t have that. To me, that’s all you need to know. That tells the story right there.”
That’s an awful lot of fuel to throw on the fire because a guy said he doesn’t plan on seeing you. Eckersley has now made a mortal enemy out of Price by saying “yuck” about another guy’s stats in one minor league game, and by honestly answering a question about the current status of their relationship. I’d say it seems like Price ought to chill out a little bit, but frankly I’m concerned he might set my home on fire.