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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | August 19, 2017

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What’s All the Twitter Rage Around Chris Perez?

By Christian Petrila

After sustaining a shoulder injury that had a good amount of dramatic build-up over Twitter, Chris Perez may now easily be the most drama-filled Indians topic on the social networking site.

Recapping the story, Perez was a late scratch from a game he was scheduled to pitch in Friday afternoon. From that point on, it was nonstop speculation. Media members and the average Indians fan all began trying to be the first to correctly guess what happened to the two-time All Star closer.

Slowly but surely, the details came out one by one. The springboard was the announcement that Perez was a late scratch. After that, Perez was seen talking to GM Chris Antonetti in the hallway of Goodyear Ballpark. Perez then left the complex, telling media, “I’m not saying nothing.” After much speculation that Perez was traded, it was discovered that Perez was a scratch due to injury. Finally, after about a half an hour of drama, it was announced that Perez had strained his throwing shoulder and would be sidelined for about a month.

Did Chris Perez’s recent history lead to all of the talk and speculation? Would it have been an issue with 90 percent of other players in the sport?

Throughout the struggle that was the 2012 season, Perez was one of the few constants on an Indians team that was more turbulent than a plane flying through a hurricane. However, there were multiple instances during which Perez voiced his frustrations with fans (Browns, Indians and one particular Oakland fan), ownership and his manager. Immediately, Perez became a target for Twitter love from fans who shared his sentiment or Twitter hate from fans who didn’t take too kindly to his words.

Suddenly, it seemed, Perez became less of a ballplayer and more of a Hollywood star whose every move would be monitored and/or criticized by the paparazzi (in this case, Twitter).

Fast-forward to Friday. When the news broke that Perez was scratched, many people over Twitter were puzzled. It didn’t take long until guesses started getting Tweeted. The most popular topic was whether Perez was traded. Having been one of the most popular trade possibilities last season, it wasn’t that far-fetched an idea that Perez might have been dealt.

The next part was when Perez was seen talking to Antonetti in the hallway. Rather than assuming it was a typical GM-player conversation, the fact that Perez was scratched triggered a few Twitter alarms. It seemed like more and more people were bracing for the worst, whether it be a trade or the new popular theory – a failed drug test. Hearing about the conversation with Antonetti made many Twitter users think that the team had just found out that Perez failed a drug test and were discussing the next step.

The climax of the dramatic thriller was Perez leaving the complex and telling the media that he wouldn’t talk. Speculations were coming in at an absurd rate. Absolutely everybody wanted to be the first to correctly guess what happened to Perez. The popular guesses were still trade, injury and drug-related suspension. A suspension seemed to be the most popular. “What else could possibly get Perez so angry?” was a common hypothetical question.

Two of the three guesses were ruled out when it was announced that Perez was scratched due to an injury and not a trade or suspension. While it ruled out two-thirds of the speculation, it opened the door for more guessing of the severity of the injury, with guesses ranging from a hangnail to the ever-dreaded Tommy John surgery.

At long last, the details were revealed. Perez had a strain in his right shoulder that would sideline him for about a month. Rather than end much of the discussion over Twitter, it did nothing more than skew the conversation for some people. A good number of “tweeps” decided to voice their frustrations with the closer. For whatever reason, the injury opened up the discussion about how some fans can’t wait for him to be gone so the drama surrounding him would go away.

The only flaw in that logic in this situation is that Perez didn’t create the drama. The drama was created and Perez just so happened to be at the center of it. It goes back to the earlier point: Twitter essentially has become the paparazzi to the “Hollywood celebrity” that is Chris Perez.

In the mid-2000s, the group Cute is What We Aim For released the song “There’s A Class For This.” A line in the song was, “Drama doesn’t follow me, it rides on my back.” That line describes Perez’s Friday pretty accurately. Whether or not he’ll be able to shake the Twitter monkey breathing down his neck is to be decided.

Photo: Jordan Bastian/MLB.com