This morning, David Price probably woke up with a chorus from The Clash looped on repeat in his mind.
“Should I stay or should I go?”
If Price leaves, there will be trouble. If Price stays, there will be double.
Too corny? Sorry.
Price has an option in his contract, which would allow him to finish his contract with the Boston Red Sox for four years and $127 million. Not bad. After his almost pristine postseason performances in the ALCS and the World Series, Price might be able to make more money elsewhere. Maybe. The biggest knock on Price was that he couldn’t win in the postseason, and while Steven Pearce won the World Series MVP, Price was probably second on the list. Price bettered his value in a big way this postseason.
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Before the playoffs began, Price seemed like he needed only the slightest incentive to leave Boston. During his time, he has snapped at reporters, avoided them entirely and berated Dennis Eckersley, a broadcast analyst and one of the Red Sox’ greats on a team plane.
The combative relationship continued into the postgame press conference after the game. He looked at the reporters and flaunted his success.
“I hold all the cards now,” Price told reporters. “And that feels so good. That feels so good. I can’t tell you how good it feels to hold that trump card. And you guys have had it for a long time. You’ve played that card extremely well. But you don’t have it anymore, none of you do, and that feels really good.”
Translation: I can’t wait for all of you to shut up. I can’t wait to rub this in your face for the next four years — in Boston while collecting $127 million.
Price has taken abuse from fans, sports radio hosts and columnists — largely because he has been average or injured for most of his tenure with the Red Sox, despite getting paid to be exceptional. That’s enough for Boston to stage a Cold War against an athlete. And Price doesn’t handle the cold well (just ask any Boston fan).
No matter how much resentment Red Sox fans held for Price, they’ve got to let it go, slowly. They’ve got to scream through their red beards into their pillows. They’ve got to mash to the Dropkick Murphy’s. They’ve got to solve an existential or technological problem (for the science-forward folk at MIT and Harvard). They have to convince their therapist to tell them: “It’s not your fault.” Whatever the release, Red Sox fans should pursue it.
It probably won’t work. Price and Boston will be the couple that stays together because they love to fight each other.
Price is going to keep needling at the media and the city’s fans. And he’s also probably staying in Boston, because he loves this team. He won the World Series for them — not the city of Boston. But the ornery pitcher is a proper Bostonian now, and perhaps he always was.
The city will continue to love him as much as they hate him, because whether he’s a winner or a loser, he’s going to be a jerk about it — which is honestly very Boston.