David Price’s first year in Boston could be considered a disappointment on many levels. Unfortunately, the most disappointing aspect goes well beyond his performance or the team’s performance. Instead, it resides in the level of disdain and ignorance Price says was hurled toward him in the form of racial slurs and taunts from fans at Fenway Park.
In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham, Price revealed that frustrated Red Sox fans would frequently taunt him as he warmed up in the bullpen before games. As time went on, many of those taunts became racially motivated, which disappointed him and drew the ire of his teammates and team employees.
By the middle of the season, Price said, some fans at Fenway Park heaped abuse on him when he warmed up in the bullpen before starts.
“It got pretty rough,” Price said. “If you don’t like it, pitch better. That’s all it is. Mike Brenly, our bullpen catcher, he stood up for me multiple times. The Fenway guards, too, [and] the bullpen cop.”
Some of the taunts were racial in nature.
“I got it all,” Price said. “It’s all right. I don’t care about that. My mom is white and my dad is black. I’ve heard that since I’ve been in school. There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t heard before. Your ignorance is not going to affect what I’m trying to do. But I feel sad it’s still out there.”
After inking a seven-year, $217M contract last winter, Price battled through an inconsistent season that netted unremarkable results. No one would deny that, and certainly not Price. That was especially true in the postseason, where Price was lit up in a crushing loss to the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 of the ALDS. That outing continued a trend of Price coming up short in the postseason, which is when fans and critics alike judge at their harshest.
None of that warrants hate-filled taunts though.
In the same interview, Price made it clear that Boston will remain his home. He has the option to opt out of his contract following the 2018 season, but he intends to play out the final six seasons.
“I’m staying right here,” Price said. “There was a reason I signed here and there’s a reason I’ll stay for six more years. I came here to win and we’re going to win. If I go out there and pitch well, they’ll support me.
“I’m not trying to prove anybody wrong. I want to prove myself right. I know I can handle Boston. I know I can be successful in Boston. I’ve been successful my entire career. Going to Boston ain’t going to change that.”
Some might suggest that’s not a noble gesture as much as it is a desire to collect the entire contract. Others will admire his apparent dedication to being better and making the situation better.
Regardless, he belongs to Boston, and now it’s up to everyone, fans included, to work on making 2017 and beyond a more positive experience.
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