Cleveland, OH, United States (AHN Sports) – Closer Chris Perez is tired of hearing boos from Cleveland Indians fans.
In the past, Perez tried to keep it to himself but he was ultimately fed up Thursday when he heard boos despite preserving the Indians’ 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins for his 13th save.
“You can quote that. It doesn’t bother me. It ticks me off. I don’t think they have a reason to boo me. They booed me against the Mariners when I had two guys on,” Perez said.
“It feels like I can’t even give up a baserunner without people booing me. It’s even worse when there’s only 5,000 in the stands, because then you can hear it. It (ticks) me off,” he added.
Perez said fans should forget his disastrous opening day effort and focus on the positive things that he has done for the team.
Perez also emphasized that lack of hometown support is to blame for the team’s last-place standing in attendance, despite the Indians leading the American League Central.
The closer also put the blame on fans for the team’s inability to attract big-name free agents, citing the team’s failure to lure hitter Carlos Beltran in the off-season.
Beltran later signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals despite receiving almost the same offer from the Indians.
Perez said he understands Beltran’s decision of joining a team with a solid fan base compared to the dwindling attendance at Progressive Field.
“Why doesn’t Carlos Beltran want to come over here? Well, because of that… That’s definitely a huge reason. Nobody wants to play in front of 5,000 fans. We know the weather stinks, but people see that. Other players know that,” Perez said.
“You had a choice of playing in St. Louis where you get 40,000 fans like Beltran chose to do, or you can come to Cleveland,” added Perez.
The Indians have an average attendance of 15,188 through 22 home games, a dismal record compared to the team-record 455 consecutive sellouts in the late 1990s.
The right-hander understands that poor economy in Cleveland may be the reason to the poor attendance but he thinks fans should see both sides.
“I understand. I completely understand, but the fans can’t take it personal when the players don’t want to stay here or players don’t want to come here,” he said. “It’s a business. You didn’t choose to get drafted by Cleveland. I’m in it for my family. Who knows? I could throw my last pitch tomorrow.”