"What I'm most proud of," Bonnie says, "is his commitment to do the right thing. His commitment to work hard and be respectful, to conduct himself like a Christian young man."
When Price started the All-Star Game this year in Anaheim, Tyler's parents, John and Melinda Morrissey, were in the stands as his guests. He also invited Nathan's parents, Henry and DeeAnn Stephens, though they were unable to attend. Price speaks to and texts both families regularly, including the younger siblings of Nathan and Tyler. He still goes to the Morrissey house when there is a big boxing match on television or to play a game of cards.
"He stops by unannounced," John Morrissey says, "and that's as good as it gets. After a win, he might text us and say he's thinking about Tyler and Nathan. David's an exceptional athlete, but he's a better young man than he is a pitcher. We're blessed to have him as a friend."
Two friends from Murfreesboro recently visited him in Florida. They were sitting outside and talking when the conversation, as it does often, came back to Nathan and Tyler. "We were talking about how as much as it sucks now, we're going to be better people for it in the end," Price says. "I really don't know how now...."
The time when all about life is good and makes perfect sense is when Price is on a mound.
"There's no place I'd rather be," he says. "It's so much fun. The game starts and stops with me. Nothing happens until I say it does. That's so much power right there. That feels cool. You're king of the castle standing up there on the mound."
This week the king will climb to the top of the mound to make the first postseason start of his career, a newly minted ace. It is exactly as the Rays would have it—and the Stephens, the Morrisseys and the Prices—with the ball in his hands at a time they need someone to count on. And when Price reaches back with the baseball, spring-loaded, he will look to be aiming as high as the sky.