Cleveland almost never makes the news, but if they do, it’s usually not good for them. Now, Indians closer Chris Perez is making headlines for Cleveland with the same negative attitude that is seemingly the only way for people to notice them. Even though the Indians are first in the AL Central, they’re last in attendance and Perez sounded off. He commented on the lack of fans, referring to it as “embarrassing.” He also referred to the mood from his talks with former players in Cleveland, saying “It’s not a good atmosphere. It’s not a fun place to play.” Perez certainly has a point.
Watching Cleveland games it’s hard to not notice the empty stands and general vibes of inattentiveness, but what Perez isn’t recognizing is that he can’t say what he said, the way he said it. Cleveland has been seriously and viciously effected by the economic crisis, and angrily scolding fans for not paying money to spend three hours watching baseball isn’t exactly the way to put people in the seats. A Clevelander can’t be blamed for their lack of expectations for sports teams after recent years. The loss of LeBron James left the city cold and callous to any sports, especially considering the world of woes Brown’s fans have been living in since Bernie Kosar left the NFL.
It’s an impossible situation for both sides, Perez and the Indians obviously want fans in the stands, and now that they’re performing at a high level, they expect it. However the team has to recognize that they’re playing in a city that’s dealt with despair and tragedy almost daily. Rather than look at their own success and demand attention, the Indians must look at their new-found ascendancy as an opportunity to revitalize a city desperate for good news.