USA Today Sports

Welcome to the latest evolution of David Price

Rob Bradford
October 24, 2018 - 1:29 pm

You know how we know David Price is feeling good about his lot in life? When he answers a question about his first thoughts the morning after exorcizing his postseason demons in Houston thusly:

"I hope my teammates are up so we can get squad wins on Fortnite."


Yes, David Price still plays the video game Fortnite and has all season. But think back to such a confession earlier this season, when his bout of mild carpal tunnel syndrome eliminated the opportunity to participate the game in the clubhouse out in front of the media. Instead, we were left with an image of Price doing some sort of hand and wrist exercises. Then it was months upon months of crossword puzzles. But Fortnite? Clearly, if he was seen manning the controllers there would be no hope of turning this uncomfortable postseason narrative.

Well, now life is a bit different. 

Price is not only out in the open regarding his life as a gamer, but he's getting standing ovations from his home fans instead of just the Yankee Stadium contingent. He is on the top step of the dugout next to Red Sox manager Alex Cora virtually every pitch when he's not pitching. And, most importantly, the lefty is actually offering hope that he can be relied on in Wednesday night's Game 2 World Series game.

In the blink of an eye, everything has changed.

"I got to look forward to it for the first time in a long time. Today it's definitely a weight lifted off of me for sure," Price said when meeting with the media Tuesday. "Not like food tastes better or anything like that. But it was time. And I'm definitely glad that the time came and we moved past it. And I look forward to doing the same thing (Wednesday)."

It's mind-boggling to reflect on Price's existence to this point in Boston.

Going back to the beginning of 2016 when there was a wave of video breakdown showing some sort of mechanical issues. That led to the first round of defiance. That led to his initial postseason failure with the Red Sox. Then came 2017 with the injury and of course the misguided Dennis Eckersley incident. That led to his second round of defiance. And this year he had the cold hands and feet, the allergies and, yes, another round of defiance.

But as the season unfolded Price's production came back, as did bits and pieces of the personality he had seemingly left behind in Tampa Bay, Detroit and Toronto. Even when he experienced yet another horrific playoff start, there was an acceptance of his situation and a semi-humble embracing of his next chance.

The final few adjustments were made -- thanks to his impromptu in-game bullpen session in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series -- a dominant pitcher was resurfaced at just the right time, and now he heads into a return to the World Series a new man.

The latest evolution of Price has been swift and undeniable. Will he wake up and proclaim the quest for squad wins Thursday morning? As usual, for better or worse, he has us on the edge of our seats waiting for what might come next.

"Everything happens for a reason," Price said. "Everything leading up to my last start makes it even more special and I’ll cherish that game for a very long time."