Dennis Eckersley has no interest in meeting with David Price. And he has no intention of changing his broadcasting style.
“I’m cool with everything,’’ Eckersley told the Globe before Tuesday night’s dramatic 12-10 walkoff victory over the Indians. “I’ve moved on. I’m just going to keep doing what I do, which is call it like I see it. It’s all about the Red Sox and the ultimate goal of winning it all.’’
Eckersley returned to Fenway Tuesday to fulfill a commitment to appear in the club’s Legends Suite during the Red Sox-Indians game. He is scheduled to return to the NESN booth Thursday when the Red Sox play the White Sox at Fenway.
He’s received no apologies from Price, Sox manager John Farrell, or any of the players who applauded when he was verbally ambushed by Price on the team charter back on June 29. And since Price is evidently still proud of his outburst, Eckersley has decided to reject the ball club’s efforts to broker a meeting between the two.
Fenway fans have registered their votes on the matter. They love Eckersley. They do not love Price or his actions.
The Sox pay tribute to one or more “legends” at every Fenway game. Tuesday happened to be Eckersley’s turn to man the upstairs suite, and the timing could hardly have been better. After the Indians were retired in the top of the third, patrons were treated to a minute-long video highlighting Eckersley’s career. While his image flashed on the giant videoboard in center, Eckersley was introduced to the crowd and waved to the adoring masses from Box R-1.
There was a hearty round of applause, with some fans standing. Eckersley gave the peace sign, put his hand over his heart and mouthed. “Thank you very much,’’ and “you’re the best.’’
The introduction came during a commercial break on NESN.
“The support of the fans has been incredible,’’ said Eckersley. “I am truly humbled. I want to thank the Red Sox organization for their support, too. They were there for me.’’
Price, on the other hand, is wildly unpopular at the moment and probably could use Theo Epstein’s Halloween gorilla costume to get in and out of the ballpark.
The unfortunate episode unfolded on a Sox flight from Boston to Toronto after a June 29 afternoon game at Fenway. Eckersley was walking down the aisle of the Sox charter aircraft when he was verbally charged by Price.
“Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived!’’ hollered Price, while surrounded by teammates, many of whom feel Eckersley is too critical. “This game is easy for him!’’
When a stunned Eckersley tried to respond, Price yelled, “Get the [expletive] out of here.’’
Sox owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy, and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski all apologized personally to Eckersley after the dustup. Still crickets from the guys in uniform.
When Price answered questions about his airplane outburst last Saturday, he acknowledged that he “could have handled it in a different way,’’ but repeated his message, saying, “If Eck was around, he’d know who we are. He’s never in the clubhouse . . . He’s the one guy in my career that doesn’t ever show his face in the clubhouse. There’s a reason behind that . . . This is one band, one sound. We’ve got to have everybody on board.’’
When Price was asked if he intended to speak to Eckersley about the matter, Price said, “Yeah. We’ll speak when he’s here in person. We’ll definitely talk it out.’’
Red Sox officials reached out to Eckersley while the former ace was in Cooperstown for Hall of Fame weekend. When Price’s double-down remarks were relayed to Eckersley, making it clear that Price had no intention of apologizing, Eckersley decided he didn’t need to hear the same message from Price one more time. The former Cy Young/MVP decided a meeting was not necessary.
Price was informed of Eckersley’s decision by a Red Sox official Tuesday. Eckersley says he wants to put the matter behind him and get back to the business of calling Sox games.
Price continues to say he is “standing up for my guys,’’ and believes his airplane stunt had impact on Eckersley’s style. Eckersley strongly disputes that notion.
The episode has been a public relations disaster for the Red Sox, who offended fans and lost their grip on first place after the details of the dustup were first disclosed. Boston went into Tuesday’s action with losses in 14 of its last 23 games, but after Tuesday’s stunning victory the Sox lead the Yankees by a half-game in the American League East.
One band. One sound.
No harmony. Pure discord.
Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy.