Perez vs. the fans
I have to admit I was a little surprised by the greeting Chris Perez received when he entered Tuesday's game in the ninth inning. I figured the best Perez could hope for would be a 50-50 mix between boos and cheers. After ripping Indians fans over the weekend, this was Perez's first appearance in a game since then.
Surprisingly, the greeting Perez got was almost all cheers. If there was any booing it was so minimal it was impossible to hear. I guess one explanation for the lack of booing is that the fans at the game are not the fans Perez was criticizing. He was criticizing the fans who DON'T come to games. Maybe those people were home booing their TV sets when Perez came into the game.
Ripping your home fans in any sport is almost never a good idea. The fans will always have the last say because the athlete must continue to play after the fact, and as such, is always a ready target for booing. Plus if the athlete's performance slips, or he goes into a slump after the fact, he's likely not going to get as much patience or sympathy from the fans as would a slumping player who hasn't taken pot shots at the fans.
Anyway, the storm clouds seemed to pass for Perez on Tuesday. He said what he felt needed to be said over the weekend, he made his first appearance since then, and he was not greeted rudely or derisively by the fans. Both sides seemed to take the high road.
That's good for the fans, good for Perez, and certainly good for the Indians' front office, which had to engage in a couple of days of damage control over the weekend.