By Brad VanFossan
If you want to learn the fastest way to get traded from your current team, just observe Cleveland Indians' closer Chris Perez's behavior. Back in May Perez used the media to speak out against getting booed in a game and also to call out the fans for the Indian's lack of attendance, despite being in first place at the time. Sure Perez had a right to question the fans for not showing up, but at the same time he has to also take the fans reasoning into perspective. The low attendance numbers aren't an act of disrepect to the players, but rather more so a cynical attitude toward ownership, and also a wait and see approach. Last year the Indians started off on fire and quickly descended into a dumpster fire of suck. The fans just don't want to be burned yet again when they see that on paper that this simply isn't a very good team.
So it's a bit of a wait and see approach. Also, the last time I checked, fans have a right to boo, especially since before this year, Perez had a reputation for making things interesting almost all the time. This year he's been close to perfect and after he called out the fans for booing him for letting two guys on base, the fans have given him warm, welcome ovations. So after calling out the fans, support for Perez actually grew stronger, while the attendance pretty much remained the same, other than when Reds and Pirates fans invaded Progressive Field for interleague series'.
Fast forward to late June, the Indians arrive in New York to take on the Yankees and Perez apparently gets stopped by a reporter for the New York Times looking for an interview. Again Perez calls out the fans, saying they are too busy rooting against Lebron James in the Finals, instead of coming to Indians games. And that the fans continually support the Browns, who have been terrible for years, but won't give the Tribe that same kind of support. First off dropping that Lebron bomb is one of the worst PR moves any player in Cleveland could make. Sure, we should be moving on from it, but what we don't want to hear is someone telling us when we should be, especially a member of one of our professional sports franchises, especially one who fans suck up to on Twitter on a daily basis.
Another bad move is bringing another sports franchise from the same city into the argument, especially one that, for whatever reason, is beloved by the city. So in my eyes, I see everything as a message that says Chris Perez wants out of town. Piping off once, ok, I can respect that, at least he wasn't afraid to speak what was on his mind instead of the usual athletle cliche speak. But to do it again and to a national media outlet (NY Times), just sets off alarms that there's a bigger issue here. I don't think the bosses and owner James Dolan will be happy to see a player of theirs making the poor attendance issue a national story. Perez is having a great year, and it's always best to sell high, so he might just get what he wished for.....shipped out of town.