ST. PETERSBURG - Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price already had apologized on Twitter for his social media rant against TBS analysts and fans, following his poor performance in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
Monday afternoon, Price again said he was sorry, this time in person. He called it a “very dark spot in my career up to this point.’’
“That is not the way anybody should handle themselves at any time,’’ Price said at Tropicana Field, before the Rays faced the Boston Red Sox. “I’m a person that takes pride in character and that was probably the exact opposite of that. I hurt a lot of people. I embarrassed myself, I embarrassed my family. I embarrassed this organization.
“And it’s not good. It’s not good for baseball. It’s not good for our team, especially at a time right now, and I’m deeply sorry. I let my emotions completely take over the situation. I’ve never felt anything like that before in my life.’’
Price was angered Saturday night when Red Sox designated hitter David Oritz lingered at home plate, watching his second home run of the game sail down the right-field line. On Twitter, Price pointed out his many awards and accomplishments, dating back to his days at Vanderbilt, then exchanged in some back-and-forth comments with fans about Ortiz’s home run.
Price was irritated by comments from TBS analysts Dirk Hayhurst, a former major-league pitcher who went to spring training with the Rays in 2011, and Tom Verducci, a Sports Illustrated senior writer.
“Dirk Hayhurst...COULDN’T hack it...Tom Verducci wasn’t even a water boy in high school...but yet they can still bash a player...SAVE IT NERDS,’’ Price tweeted upon the Rays’ return to Tampa Bay.
Price said he regretted his actions almost immediately.
“Probably a couple minutes after I typed it and sent it, honestly,’’ Price said. “I read it to myself a couple times. My emotions were just going so high. I knew that was nothing to tweet about. It should not have been tweeted. (But) I still hit Send.
“I understand that baseball has made me really into the person I am today. I do feel like I’m a good person. With the things I said after the game Saturday, I know a lot of people probably have changed their views on how they viewed me. That probably is what hurt the most.’’
Price said he spoke with Ortiz to clear the air and there’s a mutual respect between the two.
“I got a tremendous amount of respect for that guy,’’ Price said. “I told him that. He’s the best (designated hitter) ever in this game.
“I reached out to him and told him how much respect I have for him. He’s somebody who’s always smiling. He’s always having a good time. He’s there for his teammates. He takes the time for the little people. Every time he sees my little nephew, he takes the time to talk to him.
“Every time I’m here, he takes the time to talk to my mom and dad. That was an extremely poor decision on my part (to criticize Ortiz) and it stinks.’’
For Price, the biggest takeaway was obvious.
“Twitter should be used for good and that wasn’t the right way to use it,’’ Price said. “Honestly, I felt like most of the time I use Twitter the right way. I know I’ve had my instances where I haven’t. It’s just probably an emotional overflow and it really got the best of me the other night. Again, I apologize.’’