A two-year-old spat between Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, who is a TV analyst for the team, rose up again this week in the midst of a disappointing season in Boston.
Two years ago, Price was upset about a comment the analyst made on air about Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and confronted Eckersley on the team plane, blocking his way, mocking and cursing at him as some players applauded.
In a profile published on the Boston Globe website on Tuesday, Eckersley said he does not plan on ever talking with Price.
"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," Eckersley said in the article. "I don't really give a --- one way or another. I don't think he really cares one way or the other."
Price responded on Twitter on Wednesday, first with a row of crying-laughing emojis, then saying in response to a critic, "I had a meeting set up to apologize to him and he backed out that day. Get your facts right." Later, he added, "ECK needs attention."
When he got to Fenway Park on Wednesday, Price asked to speak to reporters and took off on Eckersley.
"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."
According to a release on the documentary ahead of its debut last year, the special did in fact have interviews with some of Eckersley's former teammates, including Ron Darling and Bruce Hurst.
Price, who is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $217 million contract, has had a testy relationship with Boston fans. He seemed to have put that behind him last season, especially in the second half of the season and the playoffs, when he showed grit and pitched lights out.
This season, Price leads Boston starters with a 3.16 ERA, and he has a 7-2 record with 102 strikeouts. But the rest of the rotation, especially Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, have been ineffective and the bullpen wildly inconsistent. Coming off their World Series title, the Red Sox entered Wednesday 10 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
Manager Alex Cora got pulled into the spat on Wednesday. He told reporters he did not think the issue was a distraction in the clubhouse, but said he had talked with Price about it in the morning. "It sucks that it keeps coming [up]."