The Pickup Game: Bos-plaining

Boston’s a weird sports town, so our own Boston sportswriter sits down with a Red Sox beat reporter to discuss it

David Price is in the baseball news again, and not for great things.

On Wednesday, Price pulled a Boston Herald reporter aside and aired a number of grievances with him behind closed doors (but loud enough to be heard in other rooms).  Chris Smith of MassLive.com was there, and comes on The Pickup Game to talk to me about it.

At the heart of the issue is the phrase “Boston Guy.”  There is a perception that, in Boston, only a specific type of athlete can succeed, and David Price does not fit that traditional profile.  (Neither did Pedro Martinez, Paul Pierce, Rob Gronkowski, Randy Moss, Darrelle Revis, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Jim Rice, or Bill Russell, but hey.)  We discuss what that profile is, and the guys who have managed to get around it over the years.

Critical to understanding Boston’s sports insanity is the sheer number of sports opinions being offered in this city on a daily basis.  Chris has a seat in one of the most crowded press boxes in all of sports, and “the Boston media” is so big that it’s no longer one coherent entity.

Beat writers end up taking a lot of the blame for this (chances are baseball fans reading this have likely heard the name Dan Shaughnessy, often credited with inventing Boston negativity), but Chris explains that this is typically misguided.  After all, these are the guys who travel with the team and encounter players on a daily basis.  It would be uncomfortable at best to start up fights given that.

So what does this all mean for Price, and what does it all mean for Boston?  It’s a tricky situation.  A team can’t exactly engage in heavy vetting of all free agent targets without coming across as a bit manipulative.  The Red Sox must engage in some sort of media training, but how much can that do to help players handle an often panicky fanbase?

We finish up with a little talk about baseball’s most entertaining teams.  The Red Sox are a roller coaster, perhaps built to entertain, but neither of us think of them as baseball’s most thrilling squad.

Check out Chris’ columns at MassLive.com and his mini-columns on reddit’s Boston Red Sox page.

Tim Williams has been covering sports since his days as a student at Northeastern University covering events such as the Beanpot. In the thirteen years since, he has covered college hockey, the NFL, Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, and the National Hockey League. A native of the Tampa Bay area, Tim has returned home after living much of his life in the northeast, including sixteen years in the Boston area. These days the Managing Editor of Sports Talk Florida can be found on Florida's golf courses when he's not working.