Chris Perez lived up his nickname both on and off the field yesterday.
There isn't much new here that wasn't covered last night, but I wanted to summarize in a post what I scattered through the comments.
Perez's comment on the booing Thursday, for those who haven't read it:
I’m tired of getting booed at home, so I figured I’d throw some strikes today," said Perez....
"You can quote that. It doesn’t bother me. It (ticks) me off. I don’t think they have a reason to boo me. They booed me against the Mariners when I had two guys on. It feels like I can’t even give up a baserunner without people booing me. It’s even worse when there’s only 5,000 in the stands, because then you can hear it. It (ticks) me off.
I think what Perez is referring to is that the booing was done by just a few fans. There are always going to be fans who boo just to hear themselves boo, but in the days when there were 35,000+ fans in the stands, you never heard them. But with 10,000 fans in the stands, you can hear just about everyone whether friendly or not. At least that's what I hoped happened.
Anyway, the main point of Perez's soliloquy was that attendance is lower than it should be for a team who is at this point in first place, and that players around baseball notice it. Other explanations have been thrown out for why this is, but I think the underlying reason is that the fanbase is still angry over the 2002 teardown that took place under Larry Dolan. Yes, it's been a decade since that happened, but nobody can hold a grudge like a Cleveland sports fan.
Even if he was saying what was on his and perhaps other player's minds, it's not a good idea to antagonize the people who pay to see you play, especially since this will probably lead to other booings if Perez has a non-perfect outing. Fans who until yesterday had no reason to boo Perez now have one.
UPDATE, 12:12 PM
MLB.com's Zach Meisel interviewed both Perez and team president Mark Shapiro this morning on Perez's comments yesterday. Here's just a section of the interview, so please read the entire thing.
Do you feel like this could ignite fans that have been waiting for somebody to speak up?
[Perez]: I hope so. Like I said, I don’t have an ulterior motive. I’m going to go out there and play well and do my job. School is out now. The last three days have been amazing weather. The fans are going to come. I know that. It’s just a slap in the face when you’re last in attendance. Last. It’s not like we’re 25th or 26th. We’re last. Oakland is out-drawing us. That’s embarrassing.
Has anyone from the front office approached you?
I talked to [general manager Chris] Antonetti. I don’t really want to get into what we talked about. I didn’t get reprimanded or anything. I’m not suspended or fined. We had a good talk.
Did they force you to talk today?
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