Chris Perez can talk or not, and that’s all he should control

Chris Perez Twitter PicMany at this site have been some of the biggest supporters of Chris Perez. Until today I would have considered myself among them. As always, I only speak for myself and not everyone at this site, but today – assuming the reports are true – I can’t support Chris Perez. In his Indians Insider column from the 27th, Paul Hoynes wrote that Perez told a team official that he “would talk to reporters, but only if two reporters were excluded from the interview.” Opinion is a fluid thing in this life, and considering what has happened with the Indians, Indians fans, and Chris Perez over the last two years, he’s way out of line this time. More importantly, it’s time for the Indians to step up and do something about it.

Chris Perez had the luxury of mostly being right in the past. He was out there getting guys out, piling up saves for a team that was in first place and had lackluster fan support. He didn’t want to sit idly by and not speak his mind about it and I prefer my athletes say something interesting rather than nothing at all. In a world of “one day at a time” quotes, Chris Perez was doing good work. When he was “caught” on YouTube cursing out some fans in Oakland, I supported him then too. He didn’t know he was being recorded and those two guys dared him to talk, which he did. Some thought Perez came off looking like a punk, but I felt like those two Oakland fans deserved the tongue lashing. Yes, Perez kind of put his foot in his mouth with regard to the Carlos Beltran free agency, but other than that I felt good having Perez’ back.

I can’t say that I feel good about that today, assuming what Hoynes said was true. The speculation is that Perez was referring to Hoynes and ABJ writer Shelden Ocker as the two that he didn’t want to be included in his talk with reporters. That’s where my support ends. Chris Perez can say what he wants and largely have my support. He can not say anything and largely have my support. When he starts acting like a spoiled child with unrealistic control issues, I start to have a problem.

Athletes have lots of control over their careers. The way I see it, Chris Perez has three choices in this specific scenario.

  1. He is welcome to not talk at all
  2. He can say what he wants to the reporter pool as credentialed by the team he pitches for
  3. He can pick one guy and just talk to that reporter

The rest is a childish attempt to try and ostracize two reporters because he has some kind of vendetta for the way they covered a story. Presumably it’s a vendetta for the way they covered a story about an embarrassing situation that Perez and his wife found themselves in – almost absolutely of their own doing, by the way. It’s the height of immaturity and makes him look incredibly small.

Chris Perez does not get to control the pool of reporters that cover the Cleveland Indians. He doesn’t get to kick out guys like Shelden Ocker and Paul Hoynes who have been covering the Indians for nearly 30 years each. Those guys are hired by their papers and granted access to cover the team by the Cleveland Indians. They have a responsibility to their employers and the readers of their work. They have a responsibility to the team to be professionals and if the team has a good relationship with them and grants them access, then they have the right to cover the team just like everyone else. At this point I’m unaware what Chris Perez is so upset about with regard to their coverage of him, but if it’s so outlandish and out of line, I would expect the team to address it with the two reporters, as they credential the media.

It’s time that Chris Perez is put in his place. He’s a good pitcher and Indians fans are lucky to have him in the bullpen, but he’s seemingly got no perspective in something that Scott Raab and I have been talking about for the last month. He’s a short timer. Every player – to some extent – is a short timer. These teams, these fans, and yes, even these beat reporters, have been here longer than Chris Perez has been in existence. Hoynes and Ocker will most likely be here covering the team after he’s gone too. To act this way shows a lack of respect to the institutions that are in place that make him such a wealthy guy.

I really don’t want to play that card where fans say “we pay your salary” because to say it like that in an ad hominem way is reductive and childish. But it is reductive only because when you really put it all out there and explain it fully, it is the truth. Chris Perez is part of a world that exists around him and largely what used to be a breath of fresh air and honesty has now molded and decayed into a sense of unrealistic entitlement. Perez needs to be made aware of it. I’d expect the Indians organization to do that and fast.

  • Steve

    Eh, I have little problem with this, and don’t get the outrage from the “media”, and while I get it from the actual media, too bad. Chris Perez is allowed to say he won’t talk if Ocker and Hoynes are there, to me that’s the equivalent of your first option. He’s not saying he gets to kick those two out of the pool. He’s not talking, but he is letting people know when he will talk.

    Part of the reason this is a story is because the media doesn’t like it when players make their jobs tougher. Yes, Perez is what he is and is certainly not beyond reproach, but part of the reason newspapers are failing is guys like Ocker and Hoynes. They’ve become petty, vindictive, and lazy, and feel entitled to their job just because they’ve hung around for a long time. If I were an athlete, I wouldn’t want to deal with them either. As far as the bloggers, radio hosts and other members of the media ready to pounce on Perez, Hoynes and Ocker are not the brethren you want to stick up for. They make your job tougher, and have no problem doing so, and won’t have your back when the situation is reversed.

  • crobarred

    Well, looks like Craig may be added to the banned list….

  • Hopwin

    Perhaps he could just hire a publicist and run periodic pressers through them.

  • bossman09

    So you are saying that the 2 long time media guys are the “entitled” ones and that the multimillion dollar athlete shouldn’t have to deal with them.
    Interesting position.
    I hope Chris ‘the underdog’ Perez can withstand the scrutiny of these 2 entitled jerks.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Welcome to the party pal! I can’t get on Perez for not wanting to talk to certain reporters after the way he torched Indians fans and the rest of his antics. The Indians basically covered for him then so they set the precedent. You’d have thought after all of his antics and especially his legal issues he’d have learned his lesson but obviously he hasn’t.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Or maybe Bo can help him out again!

  • isn’t the real problem (in this case) that an indians’ PR flack was really bad at PR?

    there’s lots not to like about perez’ fan savvy historically (no need to go there today). but this ain’t one of them.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Antonetti did a masterful job at “PR” in that Indians insider column:

    During his stay on the disabled list, Perez was charged with misdemeanor drug abuse when packages of marijuana were delivered to his residence in Rocky River. He and his wife,Melanie, have pleaded not guilty.

    When asked if he was concerned about fan reaction when Perez returned to the mound, GMChris Antonetti said Monday: “No. The best thing Chris can do for himself and the Indians is to get back on the mound and get people out.”

    Was DiBiasio on vacation?

  • He’s just being blunt.

  • i keep picturing Veep episodes.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    A chronic issue of his!

  • Have to weed out the critics.

  • Steve

    Everyone is already piling on Perez. If you want to get your shot in while the getting is good, I won’t stop you. He’s an idiot who likes to run his mouth, we all already knew that.

    But I see a picture being painted by the media where two of their own are just trying their hardest to do their job, and mean old Chris Perez is tormenting them. But that’s unlikely to be happening here, and is quite different than what happens in most locker rooms. Media members strut in, ask taunting questions to try to get a player to say something headline worthy, then call the athlete a jerk when he does blow up. Go check out TJ Simers if you want to see who does that the best. Hoynes and Ocker have become redundant in the age of Twitter and instant media. Castrovince before, and Bastian now do a much better job, and there are quite a few other places to get better info. Hoynes and Ocker, in response, haven’t stepped up their games, but act like grumpy old men.

  • Steve

    This assumes that Perez is going to listen to a PR flack, which I’m not sure is going to happen.

    Perez is going to say stuff like this, and we can either be upset about it or get over it. If he can go back to getting guys out (and his last two stints since the DL are positive harbingers) i’ll give him a megaphone and stand him in front of the Feller statue.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Smells like some sort of personal bias unlike the rest of your comments which are always so anchored in facts if not but in your own mind!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Bob Feller just rolled over in his grave! I’ve heard of kicking a guy when he’s down but dead? That is a Perezlike new low.

  • Toddyus

    Nah, he’s a bad seed with a stick up his rear.

  • Natedawg86

    I would hope he control his pitches every now and then, but that has yet to be seen so far this season

  • Harv 21

    This is like chastising a 10 month old for the extra work caused by his throwing food from the high chair. “It’s not nice, we pay for that food, think about where it came from!” Chris Perez has zero idea what you’re saying, nor does he care. In a sport laden with completely unselfconscious, immature jerks, he’s one of the leaders. You’re ascribing motives and drawing don’t-cross lines for a guy with a much simpler agenda.

    C’mon, Craig, you knew this guy in 7th grade. Imagine him if, because of supreme athletic talent on top of his natural jerkiness, he never faced consequences, he never had to grow up, not one bit. He loves the attention his comments get, even when the team tells him to shut up. He rages when he’s booed when he sucks …. not fair!!! You’re scolding like he’s violated some right of self-expression and it didn’t have to be that way. He’s a stone-cold moron, not a breath of fresh air. In a world where he could get a lackey to do any errand, Einstein mail-ordered for home-delivery pot. He’s a bearded, cleated cross baby in a high chair tossing food, Craig, not John Carlos or Arthur Ashe. You let him talk before and now you no let. Not fair.

  • Chris Perez, P
    Cleveland Indians
    Throws: Right
    Passes: Left

  • Wow

    I don’t really follow Ocker but Hoynes is the best beat writer in town. Perez doesn’t realize he can be replaced apparently.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Always wondered why St. Louis traded a hard throwing young arm when the Cardinals are known for their young pitching arms.

  • dwhit110

    I just can’t muster up the outrage for this. Chris Perez doesn’t like the way that he’s been represented by two media outlets. Sure, the adult thing to do would be to shut up about it, but if he wants to get into a p*&%ing match with the ABJ and PD, so be it.

  • goTribeGO

    With all due respect, who cares? The way I figure it, the guy can either 1.) pitch well and run his mouth or 2.) pitch well and keep his mouth shut. Either is fine with me. Just win baby! Go Tribe. Fun team! I think Friday’s game should be a big crowd for anyone who might be thinking of going. I grabbed a pair today and all of the upper deck is on sale (for those that care about this).

  • Steve

    Perez may talk a lot, but is there any doubt that he has been quite valuable on the field? And all for half a season of Mark DeRosa.

    That trade was a lopsided check mark on the Indians side of the ledger.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Indians stole the trade OR the Cardinals gave him away which is what I was eluding to previously.

  • TobaccoRoad

    Oh, don’t worry about Steve. He’s always sticking up for Perez. I don’t really care what Perez does (or smokes) off the field, as long as he does what he’s supposed to do on the mound. But this latest example of excluding 2 reporters is why I got into it with Steve when Perez got off Twitter (conveniently right before the drug charges were made public): the guy can talk smack and run his mouth, but can’t handle it when it comes his way, plain and simple. If you want to be a loud, gregarious guy, then you have to be able to take the heat when you mess up; Perez has shown time and again that he’s too immature to do so. Freedom of choice, but not consequences, Steve…

  • Steve

    I don’t feel I’m sticking up for Perez as not piling on. The only comment I’ve made about Perez is that “he’s an idiot who likes to run his mouth”.

    And I fail to see how Perez is showing that he can’t take the heat. He doesn’t want to talk to two reporters, he made that known, and he hasn’t talked about it since. The only people perpetuating the issue are the reporters who are whining because their job got a bit tougher.

    Perez is always the first guy in front of the microphone after a blown save saying that he let the team down and he has to do better. He puts the heat on himself. This idea that he can’t take it leaves me scratching my head. I get that people are still holding a grudge because he called out the fans, but I don’t get why that causes some highly creative interpretations of his words and actions since then.

  • LaundroMat


    even if the Cardinals “gave him away,” it was a steal (in the sense of a bargain), at least in terms of on the field productivity.