Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez has been outspoken in how he feels about the Cleveland fan base. With the Indians sitting in first place in the American League's Central Division, yet sitting in last place in league attendance, Perez stated that he was upset with the fans for not showing up and booing him in an outing against the Seattle Mariners last week.
On Tuesday night, the fans had their first chance to respond to Perez's comments as the closer was making his first appearance since his save in the Tribe's 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins on May 19 and they made sure they were heard loud and clear.
As Perez made his way to the mound from the bullpen, the Cleveland faithful showered the controversial closer with cheers as well as a standing ovation. The cheers only got louder as Perez put the finishing touches on the Tribe's 5-3 come-from-behind win against their Central Division rivals, the Detroit Tigers. Perez was moved by the gesture.
His comments via the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"I'm truly humbled," said Perez of the fans' response. "It didn't go unnoticed. Trust me. I'm humbled. It was really nice."
When asked if he had any regret about his comments, the closer remained steadfast in his opinion, but acknowledged he wish it didn't become a distraction for the team.
"The only thing I would take back is try to keep it away from the team this much. The last thing you want to do is bring undo attention to the team. Especially in this kind of light.
"At the same time, I think it kind of picked us up. The guys kind of said, 'Yeah, we're feeling like that, too. I'm glad you said something. I'm glad you didn't back down.' "