In a perfect world, professional athletes and journalists would all get along. That, however, isn’t the case. David Price, for example, is at odds with Dennis Eckersley, which is unfortunate for two reasons: one, Eckersley is a former major leaguer, and two, he’s a Hall of Famer.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Hall of Famer and MLB broadcaster John Smoltz said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “I’m out of touch with social media. I don’t think it’s great, and certainly I don’t use any of it. And when you have so many different avenues today to either hear things, say things and not have any relational contact, it’s just too easy to get in a Twitter war and get on a Twitter rant. There’s just not a lot good that happens when it isn’t dealt with personally. Certain things last longer than they should (and are) talked about more than they should.”
Smoltz, 50, played in the bigs in a pre-social media world. He’s fine with that.
“Here’s what I was as a player,” Smoltz said. “If a reporter didn’t do his job or was lazy and didn’t have the opportunity to go out and get a story, I would call them on that. The same thing if a player is not accountable and a player is certainly not doing what he’s supposed to do within the unwritten rules of accountability and his performance, then you got to call him on that. In life and sports, we have too many vehicles to channel our displeasure or our words in a way where it circumvents what it is intended to do. That’s what I don’t understand: the length of which this has lasted. I still don’t know what it is actually.”
Price reportedly cussed out Eckersley during a team flight in June, this after Eckersley was critical of 24-year-old Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
“It’s really not about comments about David Price. It’s about another teammate that he is taking the stance to stand up for and not tolerate,” Smoltz said. “I think there are certain environments and certain places that you have to understand are different. It’s not Tampa. It’s not Detroit. It’s Boston. And with it comes a lot more attention and a lot more expectation that – right or wrong, whether you like it or not – it’s part of the deal. I love watching him pitch. I just hope things like that, the peripheral things, can kind of go away and he can focus on playing baseball.”
Smoltz, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015, also weighed in on the most controversial topic in Cooperstown: should PED users be allowed in?
“It’s a subject that unfortunately is going to have many different discussions, many different topics,” Smoltz said. “I look at each year. When are we going to have a year where somebody doesn’t get suspended? That would be the first mark of turning the corner, right? I’ve always said that when this first come up and the discussion of who, what, where, when and how, you think, ‘Okay, in 10 years we won’t be talking about this.’ And every year it goes by and (we have) the disappointment of hearing the news of somebody getting suspended, letting their team down, and fulfilling that same kind of line of whatever their excuse is.
“I’m a little surprised it continues,” Smoltz went on to say. “Maybe I’m naive. Maybe based on the way I decided to go about my career, I just don’t understand that part of it. But from a writers’ standpoint and from the abilities they have to play judge and juror, I get how it’s getting increasingly more difficult and maybe some of the walls are being chipped away. But for me personally, it does not taint or take away the experience I have had and the people that are behind me on that stage and what they’ve accomplished. I don’t have any say in it, and I certainly don’t have a vote. I try to walk in everybody’s shoes before you answer something that you think is easy to answer when you don’t have a responsibility.”