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BLOG: Chris Perez calls out the fans

Tom Jackson • May 24, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Chris Perez, the ace relief pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, is discovering that telling the truth isn't a route to easy popularity.

Professional athletes are supposed to recite cliches. "I don't care about individual statistics or making millions of dollars or dating a different beautiful woman every week. All I care about is helping the team." "I'll be happy to help the other quarterback. I don't care that he's competing for my job." Etc.

Perez had made headlines for statements that were actually interesting and candid. He has a number of gripes. Among them (1) The Indians are leading their division, but are in last place in attendance in the major leagues and (2) The acres of empty seats mean that the team doesn't enjoy the home field advantage that most teams expect.

I noticed when I moved here from Oklahoma in 2003 that Cleveland's whiny sports fans complain constantly about the Indians but will forgive anything from the Browns.

Major league baseball is rigged against small market teams, as everyone who pays attention to such matters is forced to admit. The National Football League is carefully set up to give each team a fair chance. The Browns' record for the last few years is as follows: 2008, 4-12; 2009, 5-11; 2010, 5-11; 2011, 4-12.

On Sunday, PD sportswriter Terry Pluto's Sunday column was devoted mostly to the Cleveland Browns. On Wednesday, the first place Indians came from behind and beat Detroit again. Pluto responded with a column on Colt McCoy. The Browns are months away from a meaningful game. Pluto's book, "Our Tribe," is the best baseball book I've ever read, but could someone please tell him it's baseball season?

In the meantime, Chris Perez is using his Twitter account (@ChrisPerez54) to give away tickets to home games.

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