Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/18/14

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Cleveland Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez voiced his concern with the overall psyche of the Cleveland sports fan. This time, not just with regard to attendance as much as welfare and the other two sports which share this very city, specifically the animosity toward former Cavalier LeBron James.

“I don’t get the psyche,” said Perez. “Why cheer against a guy that’s not even in your city anymore? Just to see him fail? Does that make you feel good? I could see if the Cavs were in the championship, but that’s their mentality.

“They’ve had a lot of years of misery. They say, ‘You just don’t understand because you don’t live here.’ O.K., maybe I don’t. But that doesn’t mean it has to keep going.”

In addition, Perez called into question the rabid blind loyalty surrounding the Browns, a team having made the playoffs once since returning in 1999 and not had a record above .500 since their 10-win season in 2007, and very little support in an Indians team which currently is among the best in the American League.

“That’s what I don’t understand,” Perez said. “Their whole thing is, ‘We want a winner.’ Well, why do you support the Browns? They don’t win. They’ve never won. They left. You guys blindly support them. I don’t understand it. It’s a double standard, and I don’t know why.

“It’s head-scratching. It’s just — they don’t come out. But around the city, there’s great support. They watch it in the bars. They watch it at home. They just don’t come.”

Earlier this season, Perez blasted Indians fans for their lack of support as well as personally booing him after allowing a base-runner in a game against the Seattle Mariners. On the season, Perez has converted 23 straight saves, striking out 28 and walking seven in 28.1 innings of work. He has not allowed a base-runner since June 18. The Cleveland Indians sit one half-game back of the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central.

[Related: Yankees 7, Indians 1: The Little Urban Cowboy In the Big Bad City]

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6 Comments:
  • I understand and agree with Chris Perez's statements BUT there's more to Cleveland that he needs to know. First, The Browns: They never LEFT Cleveland, they were STOLEN from Cleveland. The original Browns are now the Ravens (the owner at the time even wanted to steal our NAME the BROWNS!) The Indians: man do we love our Tribe. I would love to be at every game the only problem I have is the PRICE! Dude,I lost my job for 1 1/2 yrs. I can't afford to go to the sport I love with all of my heart! I don't like to say the "L" word so I won't. You ask why we hate him? It had nothing to do with him leaving us, we knew that was coming. It was all about the way HE DISRESPECTED THE ENTIRE CITY/STATE ON NATIONAL TV. I myself will never have respect for the hunk of junk. You Perez are awesome, we always know when you come in, you WILL close the game. All in all Cleveland loves their sports teams. They are the best fans.
  • The bigger question is: why invest one's emotions in the activities of a bunch of businessmen which have absolutely no connection to one's own life, outside of the imaginary dynamic?
    The primal need for tribal identification is really not served in this illusory relationship........ Humans grouped together eons ago, as a necessity in order to survive...
    Wearing a shirt with another man's name and the logo of a corporation in no way provides any protection or benefit, such as those derived by hunter-gatherer humans involved in tribal associations as that psychological need was being integrated into our DNA.
    The performance of any given sporting organization in no way reflects any material situation the life of the fan.
    If "your" team wins or loses , it has nothing to do with you, and does not affect your life in any way shape or form outside of your imagination.
    It's only entertainment.


    Update: June 29, 2012
    The bigger question is: why invest one's emotions in the activities of a bunch of businessmen which have absolutely no connection to one's own life, outside of the imaginary dynamic?
    The primal need for tribal identification is really not served in this illusory relationship........ Humans grouped together eons ago, as a necessity in order to survive...
    Wearing a shirt with another man's name and the logo of a corporation in no way provides any protection or benefit, such as those derived by hunter-gatherer humans involved in tribal associations as that psychological need was being integrated into our DNA.
    The performance of any given sporting organization in no way reflects any material situation the life of the fan.
    If "your" team wins or loses , it has nothing to do with you, and does not affect your life in any way shape or form outside of your imagination.
    It's only entertainment.
  • Dear Drone3263,

    Great comment. Almost too intellectually accurate for a sports website.

    On a much different level, Perez is right also but what he might fail to understand is, these "contradictions-in-terms," are present in everyone, himself included.

    If his "contractory values" were pointed out to him, how would he respond?

    When each of us arises to the level of wisdom to the point we see that our critiques of others are also a part of US, we arrive at a point where we don't criticize, but just "live-&-let-live."

    But for where sports fans exist in mind and spirit, he is absolutley right.
  • It's pretty obvious perez wants out,as a life long Clevelander who loves all our teams (Buckeyes included) doesn not care what he thinks. Keep saving games until we unload you and please shut the hell up.
  • Let’s do some Math. This "lack of interest and support" among the fans can be calculated. These are the numbers for the Indians, Browns, and Cavs and their respective stadiums.

    MLB
    Games: 162 total; 81 home
    Stadium Cap: 43,345
    Max Cap:3,510,945

    NFL
    Games: 20 games; 10 home
    Stadium Cap: 73,000
    Max Cap: 730,000

    NBA
    Games: 82 games; 41 home
    Stadium Cap: 20,562
    Max Cap: 843,042

    *Max Cap is the number if the stadium is filled every game
    Population of Cleveland: 396,815
    So, in order to fill the stadium at each of the 81 home games, you would need the entire population of city proper to attend almost 9 games per person. Now, I am not taking into account ticket price, population of the suburbs, median household income, the poverty level of the fans, OR WEATHER etc.

    Additionally, it costs a lot of money. I love the Indians, Baseball is the only sport I can bare, but in order to attend a game - I am kissing almost $100 goodbye!

    Cost to attend Indians Game (for a couple):
    Gas $17
    Beer $7/10 oz times 4 beers = $28
    Food nachos $12
    Parking $10
    Actual Ticket2 crappy seats $30
    Total: $97
    It costs me $97 to attend a ball game! I have student loans, a house payment, a car payment, and medical bills! All of which take priority over Perez and the Indians.
    As for Lebron - I agree with SanFranFan
  • I feel bad for the Cleveland fans. They are smart, supportive and into their teams. That being said I can understand why they feel the way they do. They deserve better than the Browns, the doormat of their division. last year the other three teams made the playoffs. The steelers and Ravens both winners.
    The Cavs, another doormat. Lebron is for Lebron, most athletes are into themselves. Let him go.
    The Indians have a shot a pennant, although we are only half way there, Rally around them.
    Its too bad Cleveland does not have a hockey team. It would be great for the city. You also do not hear about Hockey players getting into much trouble outside the rink.
    good luck Cleveland.
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