August 20, 2012
Fact-Checking the Chris Perez Profanity-Laced Tirade
Before Sunday's game, Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez took a break from shagging flies, ambled over to the right-field foul line, and cursed out an A's fan. You'd think Perez would've known that players rarely come out ahead in public player-fan confrontations. Then again, this is only his fifth major-league season, so maybe he's still getting the hang of the whole heckling thing. Here at BP, we don't condone cursing at fans, but we do place a lot of importance on evidence-based arguments. That's why we've decided to evaluate Perez's responses based not on whether he was wise to make them, or even on the quality of his cursing, but on whether his spittle-flecked statements were supported by facts.
Verdict: True! Chris Perez has 32 saves. The Athletics, as a team, have 31 saves. If saves determined the standings, the Indians would be in first place, as opposed to fourth place, where they are at the moment. But that wouldn't matter much to Chris Perez, because:
Verdict: Quite possibly true! Perez probably cares about winning, at least in the sense that it leads to saves, but he also probably takes some pleasure in the suffering of Indians fans. On the whole, winning is a wash.
Verdict: True! Chris Perez has four blown saves, and he was an All-Star again this summer. (He was also an All-Star in 2011.)
From a PR standpoint, Chris Perez is a team's worst nightmare. From a fact-checker's perspective, though, Perez is pretty much perfect.