Score one for the haters.
The Twitter account for closer Chris Perez was no longer active Monday night. Perez, one of the more accessible and open Indians players, apparently had enough ugliness.
Perez was villified on Twitter immediately after giving up a solo home run in the ninth inning of Mondays 10-8 win. Perez had blown a save on Saturday after giving up two solo home runs in the ninth. The Indians won both games.
Evidently that didnt matter to the Twitter boors, who let Perez have it in no uncertain terms. He was villified in profane and ugly ways even though Vinnie Pestano and Joe Smith both gave up home runs as well.
Among the tweets directed at Perez:@chrisperez54 you dumb fat a, we should trade your nasty a beard a bch a to the fuing cubs or pirates. We DONT need you ahole Nate Testa (@TheRealGord) May 20, 2013
Chris Perez has deleted his Twitter. I finally did it. You're welcome, Cleveland.HeBlockedMeBackIn2011YetIStillTweetAtHim WinnerWinner John Solano (@Solano_56) May 21, 2013
I will personally buy out the rest of @chrisperez54's contract just to see him leave Cleveland. feller (@2fellerz) May 20, 2013
Get @chrisperez54 out of the closers role! Walking guys giving up runs! Guy is a joke and can't handle the pressure! yangomes BOLT SPEEDMAN (@BOLTSPEEDMAN21) May 20, 2013
Clearly the loudest Tweeters do not represent all Indians fans. There were some statements of support, and Perez generally has been treated well at games.
But the absurdity of the way Perez was treated on Twitter defies a lot of conventions, starting with the presumption that people should be treated civilly.
Clearly there is some impression on Twitter that because its anonymous, anything goes, and the nastiest statements cant hurt.
Any public figure takes a risk with a Twitter account. It brings good, and it brings bad.
In Perezs case its a shame that he has withdrawn. It just doesnt seem like it should get to this point. Among the reasons it wasnt warranted:
Performance. Perez has pitched 16 innings this season, and given up four runs. Thats an ERA of 2.25. When he gave up two solo home runs on Saturday, it ended a streak of 12 appearances in a row without a run. He blew that save Saturday, his second of season. Hes saved six games. The previous two seasons he saved 39 and 35 games. Hes a two-time All Star, and the last two seasons he ranked fourth in the American League in saves. And people get on him for giving up a home run on Monday, in a game the Indians won?
Accessibility. There is no more stand-up guy in Cleveland sports than Perez. Win, lose, blown save, save he always answers questions and faces the media. When he blew a save a year ago in the season opener, he was there to answer questions. When he saved the next 24 in a row he was there to answer questions.
Candor. Indians fans didnt like it when Perez called them out for not supporting the team a year ago, and evidently some still dont like it. But what Perez said was honest, and it came after he had been booed for allowing baserunners who didnt even score. Frustration? Probably, but the next morning he was there in the dugout to make sure people understood his point. What were his points? The Indians were winning and not drawing. Check. He didnt understand why the Browns drew with their awful performances. Check. He didnt understand why folks didnt just enjoy the fact the Indians were winning. Check. After he said it, he closed three games in a row against the Tigers, all Indians wins.
Teammate. Poll Perezs teammates and theyll all say they like him. More important, they appreciate him. Perez is one of the leagues best closers. He had a problem Monday, and manager Terry Francona summed it up aptly:
Thats the nature of the game. When youre in that role, you give up a home run its glaring. Thats part of pitching at the end of games. The good part is he feels good and hes done it before. Hell be a big part of what we do.
In one sense, Perez being off Twitter isnt horrible. It takes away some negatives, removes a potential source of annoyance.
But the shame of it is that the many fans who enjoyed Perez on Twitter now wont be able to interact. They lose something. Its not the end of the world, but its something.
The Indians are in first place and have won 18-of-22.
Yet when it comes to Perez and Twitter, the loudest and ugliest seem to have won.