CLEVELAND — Indians closer Chris Perez is one of the best in the bigs, converting 23 straight saves this season.
Because of his fantastic first half of 2012, he’s been selected to the July 10 MLB All-Star Game for the second straight year. However, it isn’t his pitching that has caught the eyes, or rather the ears, of baseball fans, it’s been his off field actions, more specifically his comments to the media.
Perez ripped Cleveland sports fans for showing too much support for the Browns and showing too much hate for LeBron James. While these comments would upset fans in Cleveland, his ripping of Tribe fans for the attendance at Progressive Field has spread as far as Kansas City.
Earlier this season, when the Indians were leading the AL Central, Perez compared attendance in Cleveland to the attendance in Kansas City and Pittsburgh as teams with high attendance, but not a lot of wins, which upset Royals fans. This only added fuel to a fire that was already started by a bench clearing brawl between the two teams on April 14.
With this year’s MLB All-Star being played at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, Perez does not expect a warm welcome.
“I don’t know how many tickets go to the local crowd, but I’m sure all of the local Kansas Citians won’t be cheering me, that’s for sure,” Perez said.
Quite frankly, some boos won’t bother the 27-year-old pitcher.
“I really don’t care. They’re not my fans. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to tip my cap nonetheless and go out there. When I pitch I’m just going to try to do my job,” Perez said.
Perez’s 23 saves ties for a MLB high. He has a 2.67 ERA and has only given up one home-run all year. Perez knows that his season statistics would not have been the same without the high level of play from his teammates, especially fellow Bullpen Mafia member, Vinnie Pestano.
“I don’t get my opportunities if he doesn’t do his job. Luckily, he does his job very well and he gives me the ball. He’s tremendous at what he does and I definitely owe a lot of the success to him,” Perez said.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was also named an AL All-Star for the second straight year. Cabrera is batting .300 on the year with 40 RBI and 11 HR. His middle-infield mate Jason Kipnis is one who some feel got snubbed by some bigger market players. Kipnis has 47 RBI, 11 HR and 20 stolen bases this season.
“Ron Washington gets to fill out the roster and that has something to do with it. Unfortunately, we don’t play on national TV as much as the Rangers or the Yankees because they’ve been there and they’ve done that. They’re the champions the last two years, so they get all of the TV time,” Perez said.
The two Cleveland All-Star’s get bonuses for making the AL All-Star team. Perez received a $50,000 bonus and Cabrera received a $100,000 bonus.
The All Star game will be televised by Fox 8 next Tuesday night.
Fox 8 intern Gabriel Kramer contrbuted to this report.