By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Round two between NESN color commentator Dennis Eckersley and Red Sox starter David Price is officially upon us.
Over two years since the two had their infamous spat on a team flight, the feud has been reignited by Chad Finn’s recent (and compelling) magazine feature on Eckersley for the Boston Globe, which saw the Price incident revisited for a hot minute.
From Finn’s piece:
It was an ambush, tactless and calculated, and it still bothers Eckersley. “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. [Broadcasters now board the plane before players.] I don’t really give a [expletive] one way or another. I don’t think he really cares one way or the other.”
Price first aired his grievances with the profile on Twitter, criticizing Eckersley’s broadcasting style, and saying that he brings up things from 30 years ago that have nothing to do with the play happening before his eyes.
Price then touched on the subject further when speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays.
“That was two years ago,” Price told reporters. “Two years. Close to 800 days. Come on, dude.”
Price, who noted that this is the third time he’s had to talk about the incident with the media, went on to say that he wanted to move forward with Eckersley and apologize for the way things were handled, but said that Eckersley did not show up.
“Honestly, I just think it’s trash,” Price continued. “He had an unbelievable career, 25 seasons and he’s a Hall of Famer.”
But then Price lit into Eckersley, referencing a recent MLB Network documentary on Eckersley career and insinuating that Eckersley was a me-first kind of player who did not have the support of his former teammates and coaches.
“The one thing that stood out to me [in the documentary] was that he had zero former teammates in that interview,” Price said. “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. They can all vouch for me. He didn’t have that. To me, that is all you need to know. That tells the entire story right there.
“My teammates will vouch for me. My coaches will vouch for me. He doesn’t have that, so he has to vouch for himself.”
(It’s worth mentioning that both Finn and Dan Shaughnessy have since come to Eckersley’s defense on that front, noting that several ex-teammates, friends, and coaches have more than happily talked about Eckersley as a player and person.)
Where this goes from here is anybody’s guess. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he spoke to Price and doesn’t expect any further distractions. But if Price had his way, it would end if Eckersley simply stopped talking to the media about the incident.
“He wants to move on, but he continues to go on the radio and do interviews about it. If you want to move on, move on,” said Price. “We’re two grown men. We can meet. Nothing’s going to happen. I yelled at you. I’m sure everybody in here has been yelled at. It’s unfortunate that it happened. I wanted to tell him that face-to-face. He chose not to show up. That was that.”