On June 26, 2009, Chris Perez was a member of the first place St. Louis Cardinals when he got the news that he was being traded to the Cleveland Indians. The Indians were only two games ahead of the Kansas City Royals for last place in the AL Central. The St.Louis Cardinals were on there way to another 3 Million in attendance while Cleveland was on there way to drawing just over 1.75 Million. Perez came over and sensed an opportunity to achieve what he has desired since his days at the University of Miami, and that was to be a closer in the Major Leagues. The Indians bullpen, even wtih a name brand closer in Kerry Wood, had blown 13 of 26 save opportunities on the year.
Perez reported to the Indians on June 29, 2009 in Chicago and was ready to prove himself to his new teammates. His adrenaline was pumping to say the least. The line score for the clean shaven Perez was one of the uglier lines for an Indians pitcher's debut in recent memory. Perez would come in to start the ninth inning with the Tribe trailing 2-0. Perez would promptly hit Alexi Ramirez in the head with a fastball. Jayson Nix would pinch run for Alexi Ramirez and would steal second base. With first base open, Perez would throw one up and in on Jermaine Dye would throw his arms up in the air and luckily use his wrist to deflect the ball. As if hitting the first two batters didn't suggest that Perez was having some control issues, walking Jim Thome to load the bases affirmed it. Finally, Perez would retire Paul Konerko on an infield fly to record his first out as a Cleveland Indian. AJ Pierzynski was up next and would hit a hard one hopper to Garko at first who would throw to second for the force out, but Perez was late getting off the mound and the Tribe was unable to get the double play and a run scored. With runners at first and third, Perez would give up a double to Chris Getz scoring one run. With runners at second and third, Perez figured he'd already hit two guys, walked a guy, and failed to cover first on a play that he'd throw a run scoring wild pitch to make the score 4-0. After that, Gordan Beckham would single in another run before Eric Wedge would come out to the mound to pull Perez in favor of Jose Veras.
When the dust had settled and Jose Veras retired DeWayne Wise, Perez would end up being charged with 4 runs, all earned in 2/3 of an inning, hitting two batters, walking one, one wild pitch, and faiedl to cover first on a possible inning ending double play. A lot of Tribe fans saw the emotion and adrenaline oozing out of Perez that night and on the blogospehre people commented that "if ever Perez could harness that stuff" we'd have something to get excited about." I think in the time since that first crazy night, Perez has in fact harnessed that stuff and is something to get excited about.