ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This may be, truly, the revenge of the nerds.
Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the American League, took to Twitter to bash his perceived critics after he took the loss against the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the AL Division Series on Saturday, singling out two TBS network commentators as "nerds."
Dirk Hayhurst...COULDNT hack it...Tom Verducci wasn't even a water boy in high school...but yet they can still bash a player...SAVE IT NERDS
— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) October 6, 2013
Price muttered the same insult -- mild by the cultural norm of the clubhouse -- as he walked away from reporters questioning him after Saturday's game at Fenway Park.
"Sweet questions, nerds," he said.
Price also tweeted his credentials as a star in college and the big leagues.
"No, you forgot CLEAN sweep of every college award...Never been Done," Price tweeted, adding in another tweet that he had won the Cy Young Award.
By Sunday, Price was hearing back from all sides, some of whom defended him, some of whom chose to ridicule him.
Former Red Sox infielder-turned-radio/TV commentator Lou Merloni was among those who mocked Price in response, tweeting: "BTW, did I tell you I was MVP of my High School team?"
Price did not appear at Tropicana Field on Sunday for the team's optional workout, but shortly after a teammate reached out to him, a baseball source said, the left-hander apologized on Twitter.
Last night got out of hand and I apologize for the things that I said on here...if I offended you I am very sorry for doing so...#thatsnotme
— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) October 6, 2013
Rays officials say they expect Price to address the issue at some point publicly, especially after it became public knowledge that Price's girlfriend, Tiffany Nicole, who had attended Games 1 and 2 in Boston, also had taken to Twitter, in this instance to criticize Red Sox fans, using a term considerably stronger than Price had employed.
"Convinced that there must be a written rule that in order to be a Red Sox fan, you have to be a complete and utter POS. Wow!" Nicole tweeted during Game 1.
She later tweeted that fans sitting nearby were taunting players' children and throwing trash.
As of Sunday, the Rays had not issued any formal complaints with either the Red Sox or the commissioner's office regarding any incidents at Fenway, according to a baseball source.
On Saturday, after David Ortiz lingered at home plate following his second home run of the night off Price -- the Red Sox's designated hitter said he was just waiting to see whether the ball was fair, although he's been known to admire his handiwork -- Nicole tweeted, "Wow he pimped the crap out of that homerun. #KeepItClassyBoston."
Price also took umbrage at Ortiz's dalliance at the plate.
"As soon as he hit it, I saw it, I knew it was fair," Price said. "Run."
Ortiz spoke to reporters after the Red Sox worked out Sunday, and said he had communicated with the Rays' pitcher.
"It's over," Ortiz said. "We talked. It doesn't matter how we got to talk, but we did. We talked."
In his media session Sunday, Rays manager Joe Maddon also addressed the topic, noting that the club has a media training session during spring training, something the Red Sox and many other clubs do, too.
"I really hate to try to legislate behavior when it comes to those kind of moments," he said. "... I've talked about it a lot, one of our strengths is that we do permit a lot of freedom.
"I don't want to take one isolated incident and try to turn it into something. I think that's something we do nationally a little bit too often, too. So I don't want to take one isolated incident and try to make more of it than it actually is.
"I have a lot of faith in David. I think David did the right thing after he had done the wrong thing. And I believe in the future you're going to see better judgment."
Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes played with Price on the Rays and has remained friends with him.
"I don't know, it's tough," Gomes said. "Personally I give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, the guy's been good since he was 10, since he was 12, since he was 15, won all the awards in college, first overall pick, blew through the minors, won a Cy Young, dude's never failed, you know.
"This game is built around failure. Who are you when you fail, how do you come back? The other thing that's tough for him, there are 750 active major leaguers. ... So what you say to the media, the way you play the game, creates your character. I think he's done a great job to this point.
"He might have taken a step back or two, but results definitely bury all that. But he might have to wait till next year for results."