NEW YORK -- Indians closer Chris Perez did not pick up a copy of the New York Times on Tuesday morning, but it did not take long for him to realize that quotes attributed to him had drawn a reaction from fans back in Cleveland.
"I didn't know about it until I checked Twitter," Perez said. "I was surprised at the reaction."
In the article, Perez expanded on his comments earlier this season, taking on Cleveland fans for rooting against NBA superstar LeBron James and not being overly critical of the NFL's Browns during their current playoff drought.
"Their whole thing is, 'We want a winner,'" Perez said. "Well, why do you support the Browns? They don't win. They've never won. They left. You guys blindly support them. I don't understand it. It's a double standard, and I don't know why."
Asked about Perez's outspoken nature, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the closer means well.
"Chris' comments were coming from the right place," Antonetti said. "He believes in the team. He believes that we have a competitive team that's out there and plays the game the right way in a beautiful ballpark where people come to enjoy baseball. He just wants as many people to come out and enjoy it as possible.
"He probably interacts with our fans as much as anyone. I wouldn't look to limit what Chris says. Sometimes I'd prefer he'd choose his words a little more carefully at times, but other than that, I think it's coming from the right place."
Perez applauded Cleveland fans for their recent support of the Indians.
"The last three or four homestands have been great," Perez said. "We've had a really good response. It just got ... out of proportion. It wasn't me trying to do it again. That's definitely not what I wanted, especially because it's been great. It has been better."