We all screw up.
We all make mistakes; some are small, insignificant, and only the guilty party is aware, and others are big, defining and the whole world knows it.
Chris Perez made a mistake Monday night.
No, it wasn’t the 1-0 pitch Tigers Catcher Alex Avila sent over the left-center field wall to give Detroit a 4-2 lead, and eventually the victory on Monday night. It wasn’t the walk to Andy Dirksprior to the home run, either.
Everyone has off nights. Everyone has times where they don’t perform their best. It goes beyond baseball, beyond sports. Human beings are fallible and we make mistakes, we do bad things, we’re not at our best. It happens. I lose track of this sometimes, especially in baseball, and expect more perfection on the diamond, when it’s often simply not realistic.
I am guilty of unrealistic expectations. I often validate this by saying “well, Player X makes millions, why can’t he be better, or why does the team chose to have him?” That line of thinking isn’t logical. There are always X-factors humans, and organizations, can’t anticipate, let alone control.
The one thing we as human beings can control, is our responses to these X-factors. No, we can’t anticipate the best course of action for unforseen events, but after the fact, we can own up to our mistakes, face our consequences and move on with our lives. Honesty and forgiveness are humanity’s two biggest consolation prizes for when one of us is in the wrong, and with very few exceptions, humanity can forgive most transgressions.
Chris Perez‘s mistake was to leave without speaking to reporters last night.
Yes, I’m aware he’s been relatively silent since he was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana (for which I feel, by and large, both the fan base and the organization have forgiven him). There are (quite valid) points made regarding Perez pitching three nights in a row and being gassed. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to answer questions from Paul Hoynes and Sheldon Ocker (two of my least-favorite Indians beat writers), either. I know if I were ever a professional athlete I would get quite annoyed with the same canned questions over and over again. The Tigers can hit, even Avila, and sometimes even the good pitchers get beaten by bad hitters. He had a bad night on the mound, and didn’t want to get cruicifed for it.
In the long run, this probably isn’t a huge deal, as we’re able to forgive as humans do.
I could get on my high horse, say Perez did a disservice to his teammates and the Indians organization by bailing on everyone immediately after the game. And to an extent, I’d be correct in this assessment. Several reporters, including some not known for being reactionary, were understandably annoyed with Perez’s no-show. It’s their job to cover the game, and like it or not, the biggest story from the Indians side was Perez in the ninth inning. Maybe Perez wouldn’t have had anything insightful to add, and just the usually cliché “I didn’t have my best stuff/he just hit it well” quotes most athletes would give. Or, maybe he does say something different and useful. We don’t know, unfortunately, and the speculation is probably worse than a bad quote.
The Indians organization is not one to make its dirty laundry public, for all the snide fan remarks about being cheap or nickel and diming its fans (of which I don’t agree with, by the by), they’ll go about this incident in the same manner they handle most other issues – quietly and professionally.
If I’m Terry Francona, I call Perez into the office the next day. I tell him that was a tough loss, but it happens, and I have no hesitation handing him the ball the next save opportunity. I tell him he does a lot of good for the ballclub, and it’s appreciated. And then I tell him the way he left Monday night is not the way a human being should handle mistakes, let alone a professional baseball player with the Cleveland Indians. I tell him next time he should answer some questions (even if it’s simply “Yes” or “No” answers), and as long as he does that this will be the last time we ever mention this incident.
I’m not Terry Francona, though. I’m Ed Carroll. I have made my own mistakes, have been reactionary at times, allowed my emotions and the stress of life to affect the choices I make. For this, I’m sorry. So here’s what Ed Carroll would say to Chris Perez:
“You’re a human being, as I am. We make mistakes. I have no right to criticize your mistakes any more than you have a right to criticize mine. But let’s both try to be way better at life than we have been recently, cool?”