I’ll start by saying Chris Perez’s comments were ill-timed. The announced attendance on Saturday was just shy of 30,000, the highest since opening day. That said, the Indians had also just returned from a road trip during which the lowest attendance was just over 32,000. The lowly Minnesota Twins, who have no real shot at finishing above .500, let alone making the playoffs, drew over 32,000 on a Monday night game in May against the Indians. And followed that up with over 35,000 for a Tuesday afternoon game.
But Perez’s comments about the attendance are not my primary concern. What bothers me most is that Perez has to even deal with questions about being booed. What has Perez done in his career in Cleveland other than stabilize a critical position which has been shaky since the days of Bob Wickman?
For some reason there’s a perception that Perez has been unreliable in the closer’s role and that’s simply untrue. Since the start of the 2011 season, his first full year as the Tribe’s stopper, Perez has slammed the door in 90.7 percent of his save opportunities – the 4th highest percentage among closers with at least 40 opportunities.
But some fans apparently want more. Afterall, Perez got the job done on Saturday but was booed just for putting runners on base.
Over the past two seasons, only Rivera, Francisco Cordero and Joel Hanrahan have produced a higher percentage of three up-three down saves. Perez’s rate of perfection is significantly higher than more high-profile closers such as Brian Wilson (26.1%) and Jose Valverde (29.3%).
What more could Perez possibly do to win you over? How about give away free tickets?
I’ll put my money where my mouth is: For the rest of the season, home games only, I will give away three pairs of tickets.
— Chris Perez (@ChrisPerez54) May 20, 2012
Now I fully understand some of you are upset with Perez’s comments, and to an extent I don’t blame you. But everything this man has done has been great for the team and the city. He’s among baseball’s best closers and has always been willing to interact with fans and the media. So instead of booing Perez, let’s prove him wrong. Show him how great Indians fans can be and finally welcome him as one of our own.