If anyone is the nerd, it’s David Price, a Vanderbilt egghead who hurled Silly String during last week’s Club Rays parties in darkened clubhouses across North America. I’m not sure what happened to Price, until recently known as a bright kid with a limitless baseball future who merely won the Cy Young Award last year. But if he insists on all this nerd labeling, then we’ll have to retort with the following:
Hey, aren’t you Steve Urkel?
It was embarrassing enough that the Tampa Bay Rays were reduced to imposters over the weekend by the Red Sox, who have been Boston Strong since the Marathon bombings and are performing with a high purpose in this American League divisional series. But for Price to lower himself into the Twitter gutter after a poor start in Game 2 … well, if there had been whispers that he’ll be traded in the offseason, the volume now has been increased to bullhorn levels. Not that Rays baseball operations boss Andrew Friedman ever has to defend his mostly brilliant moves, but now that the Price clearly isn’t right, it will be easier to unload him from a public-relations viewpoint.
When a pitcher allows seven runs and nine hits in a postseason game, he should fade from view and pray that his team bails him out next game. Price decided to become an immature distraction, starting with his brushback of critics who were razzing him on Twitter:
“Trust me … I don’t want sympathy … I got beat tonight … so be it … I’ll bounce back. .. 3XALLSTAR … 2 time player choice … runnerup Cy … AND CY,” he wrote, clearly in defense-mechanism mode.
He followed with this: “No, you forgot CLEAN sweep of every college award…Never been Done.”
His next targets were TBS analysts who had dissected his performance harshly, and rightfully so, during the network’s post-game show. Among them were prominent baseball writer Tom Verducci and former major-league pitcher Dirk Hayhurst. Tweeted Price:
“Dirk Hayhurst … COULDN’T hack it … Tom Verducci wasn’t even a water boy in high school … but they can still bash a player … SAVE IT NERDS”
If it matters, he also used “nerds” to describe the media throng by his locker Saturday. Fortunately, he did not refer to David Ortiz as a nerd, but Price was offended that Big Papi had stood at home plate and admired his second of two home runs. “As soon as he hit it, I saw it, I knew it was fair,” said Price, lecturing that Ortiz should have “Run.” That prompted Ortiz to have a man-to-lad talk with Price, according to Boston media reports.
Worse, the Twitter lashings continued from the keyboard of Price’s girlfriend, one Tiffany Nicole. According to ESPN.com, she ripped on the behavior of Red Sox fans at Fenway Park, tweeting, “Convinced that there must be a written rule that in order to be a Red Sox fan, you have to be a complete and utter POS. Wow!” I shouldn’t have to explain what POS means, nor can I here. Nicole also complained via Twitter that Red Sox fans were abusive toward the children of Rays players and tossing debris.
Of Ortiz’s homer, she wrote: “Wow he pimped the crap out of that homerun. #KeepItClassyBoston.”
Price apologized Sunday, again using the dreaded phone to tweet. “Last night got out of hand and I apologize for the things that I said on here. … if I offended you I am very sorry for doing so,” he wrote.
Joe Maddon, whose philosophy is to let players have fun and speak freely as long as they don’t abuse the privilege, seems stunned by it all. Price has unraveled as quickly as Wil Myers and the rest of his usually airtight club. “Next spring training, when we have our media training, you’re going to see this as a perfect example of what not to do,” Maddon told the media, per USA Today.
I suspect Price won’t be in spring training with the Rays. Just as Kansas City relinquished a hitting stud like Myers to acquire pitcher James Shields, another team — ESPN says Texas is willing to give up Jurickson Profar — will respond with a monster offer for Price. If and when he’s traded, he probably won’t like what he reads about his oddball October and will want to respond via Twitter.
SAVE IT NERD.