Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez made a stir when he ripped the fans of the team for not caring and booing despite good performances from the squad this year. He mentioned free agents avoiding Cleveland because of lack of fan support, booing from the fans after bad performances and plenty of other vitriol, which ignited some heat from the fans directed at Perez.
The Indians are currently in first place in the AL Central and have had great performances to hold off the Detroit Tigers, yet are last place in the league in attendance with a paltry 15,872 per game; that's almost 4000 behind the second to last place Oakland A's.
Still, his comments came off as caustic to the fans of the team, especially the insinuation that other players weren't enjoying themselves as well. He wasn't punished by the team for the comments, but Indians president Mark Shapiro made some statements in response to Perez's comments:
Are you worried about the comments alienating the fans even more?
I don’t. I really feel like it’s a moment in time. It’s a story for right now. If you polled our players by and large, if you talked to our fans by and large, and if you talked to every single person in this organization, what you’d see is a largely universal respect for our fans.
What was your initial reaction to Perez’s comments?
I tend not to react too quickly until I have all the information. My initial reaction was just, ‘What happened? What was said?’
Could this ignite fans to come out?
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.
Shapiro didn't say anything too bad about the incident, instead showing more sympathy than anything. Classy move by the president, though the problem of terrible attendance, Perez or not, is still ongoing in Cleveland.
At the very least, the comments got a lot of hype going about the Indians, and perhaps it could actually drive the fans to the ballpark since nothing else has been able to so far this season.