YOLO of the Week: “Pure Rage” Perez Punctuates Production with ProjectilePosted: June 12, 2012
Chris Perez has guts. This weekend, he emptied them.
The Cleveland Indians closer recorded his league-leading 20thsave of the season Sunday against his old organization, the St. Louis Cardinals, and has now converted on every save opportunity since opening day. Despite opponents hitting below the Mendoza line, rock-and-roll buff Perez has an appetite for disruption, oft getting twisted into a bind before creating order from chaos. Perez lost command at times, drawing jeers when runners reached base and sarcastic applause when he wiggled out of jams. His control was spotty enough that Indians brass may have wondered if they needed to dust off the skull frames. Perez called out the Indians fans for their lack of support for himself and their MLB-low attendance.
Tribe fans rallied around Perez’s public criticism, cheering him to continued success. But this Sunday, Perez fell victim to that dastardly gastrointestinal terror, warm water, and hurled a bit more than just balls and strikes.
0:01 The beginning of the clip features commentary of Perez’s grooming habits, pre-Pure Rage era, which certainly takes precedence over something like calling the actual game.
0:11 After accepting catcher Carlos Santana’s 5-finger plaudits, Perez’s head starts to thrash around like he’s in the pit at a metal concert, in hindsight the first indication of what is about to transpire.
0:12 The geyser at Yellowstone. The first burst of a volcanic eruption. The expensive mist sprayers at Cedar Point. Santana must have quipped something hilarious, because Pure Rage looks like he was mid-gulp of Diet Sunkist and laughter forced it to evacuate.
0:14 Doubled over, Perez’s initial reaction is my favorite part of this melodrama. He wryly turns to Santana and apologizes for making his battery mate abruptly clear the blast radius with a simple “My bad.”
0:16 The TV producers, put on the spot because their focal point has just violated the eyes of America, switch to Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis embracing. Kipnis appears to notice the scene, and looks on stoically, unmoved by Perez’s projectile bursts, begging the question: Does this happen often? Is Perez notorious for vomiting? Do they have Fear Factor-esque challenges in the bullpen? “Yeah, I knew Chris was in trouble when he had to chug the atomic wing sauce from Masterson’s sock in the 7th.” The Bullpen Mafia could be doing Man vs. Food competitions, but I’m pretty sure that we only started that because of a clause in Bob Wickman’s contract.
0:25 Apparently they thought Perez was done, but an ill-fated cut back reveals evidence to the contrary. My theory is that they believed Perez was going to Tebow, and every telecast in America is legally obligated to capture tributes to Timmy as they occur. Instead, Perez unpleasantly surprises viewers with a relapse.
0:27 Perez obliges the fans who yell for him to “leave it all on the field,” finishing with a grand finale.
0:30 Changed my mind, my new favorite part of the clip is Shelley Duncan (a player whose interview escapades could launch a thousand blog posts) tenderly rubbing Perez’s shoulders, comforting his ill teammate in a brilliant overture of camaraderie sure to boost team chemistry. Duncan braves the landing zone as the rest of the Wahoos from a stunned semicircle. Perez battles to his feet and the Tribe head to the locker room in solidarity.
After the game, skipper Manny Acta said “As long as he gets the win, we’re okay with it.”
Perez embodies YOLO, from his Miami Hurricanes roots (the U tradition is profiled in this earlier post) to his explanation, blaming lukewarm water for his post-outing ails. “I took a couple drinks of warm water and it didn’t really sit well…when the game was over I just let it out. Nothing serious, I’m fine.” Perez is actually a repeat offender, yacking against the Cubs in March of 2011 in an aborted save attempt. You might only live once, but with Acta’s consent, Perez can hurl as much as he pleases.