Every pitcher has some sort of game-day ritual before they take the mound.
Some may keep to themselves and focus on the game ahead of them, while others may converse with their teammates to keep their mind occupied until it’s time to throw the first pitch.
David Price, however, begins his routine once he leaves his house.
“Whenever I walk out that front door and get into my car,” the Boston Red Sox pitcher said, via The Athletic’s Chad Jennings. “That’s when it starts for me.”
Price said he wasn’t always so intense, and that then-Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is the reason he changed, noting the skipper told him to leave the ballpark early the day before he pitched in order to get adequate rest, because on the day he was set to pitch, he shouldn’t “worry about anything else.”
Price’s intensity in the clubhouse on days he pitched became noticeable, particularly to former Rays teammate Evan Longoria, who told any new player who was called up that they should stay away from the southpaw on the days he took the mound — because he was a jerk.
“And I’d always be like, ‘No I’m not, dude. No, I’m not,’” Price said. “And he’s like, ‘Yes, you are. You’re a jerk.’ I just started thinking about it like, man, maybe I am. Then I made a conscious effort to not be, and then I stunk, so I was like, alright. I’m sorry, one day out of the week, possibly two days if I start on Monday or Tuesday, I’m going to be a jerk.”
Boston teammate Brock Holt said during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon that Price is “not a friendly guy”, and pitching coach Dana LeVangie referred to the pitcher as a “different animal.” So what makes Price such a non-friendly, different animal, type of jerk?
“Probably headphones, being a headphones guy,” Price said. “Just the look on your face. I mean, you know when (Rick Porcello) is starting. You know. If you’re walking through the same door as he is, (you should) stop. Let him go through first. He’s not moving. I love it, you know? It’s his day. It’s his time. And that’s the way we deal with it.”
Price said each starting pitcher he’s been teammates with varied in the way they’ve dealt with their start, noting there really isn’t a happy medium.
“It’s either, you’re a jerk, or you’re not,” the left-hander said.
So essentially, every fifth day, Price and his teammates know he’s going to be a jerk.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images