As David Price left Vanderbilt in 2007, lured by a $5.6 million signing bonus after being drafted first overall by Tampa Bay, his college pitching coach offered a few parting words.
“The thing I said to him that I really meant was, ‘You never need to change the way that you play this game,’” nfl jerseys for cheap Derek Johnson recalled recently. “He played it like a little kid, and it was easily, by far and away, the most beautiful thing about him.”
For the better part of the next nine years, Price heeded that advice. He boiled over with glove-smacking joy after hurling high-90s heat past helpless hitters. He challenged fellow pitchers to goofy contests such as the “perfect sit,” in which they found a spot on the bench and tried not to get up, not even to use the bathroom, for nine innings. When he played for the Detroit Tigers, Price rode an electric scooter to and from home games. With the Toronto Blue Jays, he gifted monogrammed blue bathrobes to his teammates.
Then came last year. In his second season with the Boston Red Sox after signing a $217 million contract, Price’s behavior changed. He berated a reporter after a game at Yankee Stadium, stopped talking to the Boston media except after he pitched, and confronted Dennis Eckersley on the team plane over an innocuous comment made by the Hall of Famer as part of his job as a television analyst.
Price’s perma-smile turned into a frozen scowl, his personality morphed from childlike to churlish, setting a negative tone for a young Red Sox team seeking veteran leadership in the aftermath of David Ortiz’s retirement.
Looking back, Price traces most of what happened to a spring-training elbow injury.cheap nfl jerseys He didn’t make his first start until Memorial Day, returned to the disabled list in July and made only 11 starts. For the first time in his career, he was scared for his health, and the anxiety seemed to get the best of him.