Both Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti met with Indians closer Chris Perez on Saturday morning, presumably to discuss his controversial remarks about Tribe fans and attendance at Progressive Field. Both parties did not reveal specifics of that meeting, but they did speak separately to the press. As you’d expect, Shapiro articulated that the club disagrees with Perez’s assessment. Via Zack Meisel of MLB.com:
I, myself, and we, as an organization, have a lot of respect and appreciation for Chris. I understand the emotion and the passion and the competitiveness that drives his performance. I mean he’s been one of the more dominant closers in baseball this season. What drives him to succeed in that role is his emotion and his competitiveness. I think a lot of that was what behind he said yesterday. Talking to him with Chris Antonetti, it’s clear that what’s behind that emotion is how great he feels our situation is. How incredible he feels the team is, the ballpark is, and his desire for more people to experience that. That’s the root of it.
We as an organization clearly disagree with him. We appreciate our fans, we respect our fans.
Shapiro also indicated that he thinks most players don’t feel the same way as Perez, and they enjoy playing here. The club President doesn’t think his closer disrespected fans and that the remarks won’t further alienate them. And he’s also hoping to spin some positive out of it:
Talking to [Perez], I think some of his hope is that’s what he’s saying. He’s saying, ‘Hey, pay attention. Good things are happening here. Look at this ballpark, look at what you’ve got here. Come on out.’ I don’t know whether that will happen, but I would conjecture that part of his desire is for that to happen.