David Price is one of the most accomplished Black pitchers of our generation, but the price wasn’t right in his role as a reliever in his season debut for his new LA Dodgers squad.
The last Black pitcher in MLB history to win 20 games as a starter, entered the game and surrendered four hits to the first five batters including two homers. It certainly wasn’t the results Price or the Dodgers expected when newly acquired Trevor Bauer handed the ball off to him.
The Dodgers hung on to win 11-6, so Price’s tough outing doesn’t mean that much. He’s still working off the rust of missing an entire season.
This is Price’s fifth team in his 13 MLB campaigns. He now represents the Senior Circuit and has to mentally prepare himself to come out of the pen at a moment’s notice.
With the Dodgers’ signing of highly-touted free agent Trevor Bauer, they now have an overflow of starting pitching. Price will likely be used in a number of different ways. It’s an adjustment that Price, who averaged over 200 innings as a starter from 2010-14, is eager to make — even after a relief appearance that was funky like ya grandma’s draws.
“I’m willing to do whatever you guys need me to do. Just keep me in the loop and let me know when and I’ll be ready” Price told reporters this spring when asked about his opinion on what role he’ll serve this season.
February 10th, 2020 went down as one of the most important days in recent Dodgers history. A three-team deal between the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins sent two of the top Black Knights in the league to the city of Los Angeles: An MVP in Mookie Betts and former Cy Young winner Price.
Betts gave the Dodgers exactly what they were looking for. The 2018 MVP had another elite season and made multiple spectacular defensive plays in the playoffs including an NLCS Game 7 homer-robbery of 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman.
Price, on the other hand, chose to opt-out because of the coronavirus, so it’s now Price’s chance to prove his worth as a Dodger. The Black Ace already has one World Series title under his belt with the Red Sox. His veteran leadership and mound savvy can only enhance an already formidable LA rotation.
Price currently ranks 5th All-time in wins for Black pitchers in MLB history behind C.C. Sabathia, Ferguson Jenkins, Dwight Gooden and Dave Stewart (who he trails by just 18 victories).
Price has seen plenty of success in his career as a starter. He has 5 All-Star appearances and won the 2012 Cy Young award while finishing 2nd in 2015. His career ERA stands at 3.31 and he is closing in on 2,000 strikeouts.
Entering the league Price was the number one overall pick for the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007 out of Vanderbilt. His Major League debut was in September of 2008 where he pitched out of the bullpen.
He would make their playoff roster and most notably get the save in game 7 in the ALCS to send the Rays to their first-ever World Series.
After 13 years and hundreds of millions of dollars earned his career has come full circle.
This generation doesn’t have a Ken Griffey Jr., but we do have Los Angeles Dodgers all-world outfielder Markus Lynn “Mookie” Betts.
At 5-foot-9 Betts is a bit shorter than the statuesque Griffey, but “The Kid” told you himself, that baseball isn’t about the size of the player, it’s about heart and skills. Betts has a lion’s share of both. We look forward to watching him walk these pitchers down and maybe even go 30-30 again in 2021.
The journey to those attainable goals begins today.
Baseball’s supreme Black Knight is a championship magnet, a five-tool baller and a Gold Glove soul patroller who has all of the boxes covered.
In 2018, Betts became the first African-American to win the American League MVP award since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997, breaking a 21-year drought. He also plays the outfield, and similar to Griffey in his heyday is carrying the torch for Black Knight ballplayers in MLB.
Betts is the embodiment of everything we are trying to illuminate here at Mlbbro.com. His standing as a Top 3 player in the game leaves him as the general of a cultural struggle between today’s baseball and Black people. He’s the middleman in a negotiation to convince Black America that baseball is not only invited to the sports barbeque but is bringing the potato salad.
Since 1947, when baseball was the sport that started the slow integration of America, Black faces have dominated MLB’s record books, increased the value of the league, helped popularize it, and contributed a level of athleticism and intelligence to the game that is unique to their cultural experience.
Players like Betts are vital to the survival of the sport here in America. He’s the continuation of that undeniable excellence.
Betts’ talent, charisma, million-dollar mug and unapologetic Blackness, as well as his multiple World Series championships, have made him a most notable and marketable MLB face; an authentic image of Black baseball excellence to sell to the younger generation.
When Boston traded Betts it sent shockwaves through MLB. When we found out that the World Series champion joined the Dodgers, the odds of LA’s first World Series since 1988 skyrocketed.
We know baseball isn’t basketball. Generally, one superstar doesn’t make you a champion. Betts, however, has an impact that his league-leading WAR can’t even accurately measure.
His appeal goes beyond the field and spills into fashion. Let’s not talk about Betts’ flavorful collection of cleats. His shoe game is probably Top 3 in MLB as well. He rocks everything from multi-colored, cancer-kicking, Minnie mouse cleats to Big-Papi-themed cleats to the Air Jordan hustler’s shoe. That’s just what he’s accustomed to.
The 12-year $365 million deal Betts signed in October of 2020 was deserving, but it’s hard for any player to live up to a huge contract in baseball, because the ability to make the postseason relies on so many variables outside of his control.
Ask Mike Trout, whose legacy struggles with that dilemma every day. Despite his historic offensive dominance, Trout has no track record on the big stage.
It’s not his fault, but it also isn’t Betts’ fault that everywhere he goes he gets rings and things. In fact, he’s gunning for another one, and at this point, who can count him out? He’s a movement by himself.