*Don't miss "The Spew" Weekdays at 9AM!*
Monday 5.20.13 - 7-11 PM
Tuesday 5.21.13 - 10:30PM - Mid
Wednesday 5.22.13 - 10:30PM - Mid
Thursday 5.23.13 - 10:30PM - Mid
Friday 5.24.13 - 5-9 AM
Sunday 5.26.13 - 9AM - Noon
View Previous Video Rantz
The Sportsman of the Day
Get Twitter Buttons
By BOB FRANTZ
It was the best of tech, it was the worst of tech, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.
Sorry, Mr. Dickens. Had to edit your words a bit to make the metaphor work for Twitter. And, yes, it was done in less than 140 characters.
For professional athletes, celebrities, and politicians, Dickens’ paraphrased words are accurate no matter what the character count.
Just ask Chris Perez, the pitcher formerly known as @ChrisPerez54.
For so many who live their lives and make their livings in the public eye, the proliferation of Twitter, and to a lesser extent, Instagram and Facebook, offers a tremendous opportunity to connect with fans and constituents on a far more personal basis than ever before.
Politicians are able to speak directly to voters, if they choose, rather than into faceless microphones and cameras through standard press conferences and interviews. Actors and musicians can reach out to their followers and personalize their pleas to buy their music or watch their films. And athletes can talk to adoring fans about their performances, their teams, or their general philosophies on life.
The problem however, is that those fans can talk back.
Oh boy, can they talk back:
@ChrisPerez54 you dumb fat a**, we should trade your nasty a** beard a** b***h a** to the f******* cubs or pirates. We DONT need you #a**hole
Believe it or not, that was one of more mild tweets that drove the Indians’ closer away from Twitter.
Before the advent of social media, the only way athletes knew what fans had to say about them was to listen to talk radio or prick up their ears for the hecklers at the stadium. If they didn’t want to face a critical media, they turned off the radio and avoided the sports pages.
Especially the columnists.
Most of them claimed they did.
Today, however, players seem to relish the chance to interact with the fan base, but in doing so, they must prepare themselves for the worst. More often than not, they’ll get it.
Perez had been one of the most active Indians on Twitter, commenting not only on baseball, but on random thoughts and observations. He offered fans and followers his “Song of the Day”, featuring a musician and/or song that captured his mood or commented on a current event. He seemed to have fun with it.
The fun apparently began to wane last season after the emotional reliever vented some of his frustration at the sight of an empty ballpark night after night. For questioning the fans’ support of his club, Perez was immediately branded as the villain, and despite a second consecutive all-star season, he has been typecast in that role.
Even when Perez is busy converting 90% of his save opportunities, his detractors are coming for him. Allow a hit or baserunner on the way to a save? He stinks. Give up a meaningless solo homer that turns a three-run lead into a two-run victory? Get his fat butt outta town.
And heaven help us all when he actually blows a save outright and costs his team a game:
“As far as I’m concerned, @ChrisPerez54 is more of an enemy to Cleveland than LeBron. At least LeBron won us games...”
Never mind the fact that the hate-tweets are completely inaccurate. It doesn’t matter to them.
It doesn’t matter that probably 20 of the 30 teams in baseball are struggling night after night to find someone who can close games for them on a consistent basis.
Ask the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose bullpen has blown 11 saves already this season, if they’d like to have a Chris Perez slamming the door for them.
It doesn’t matter that, with the exception of the God-like Mariano Rivera, no one is considered to be automatic in the 9th inning. And it doesn’t matter that Perez has been just about as good as any of those who try.
To the angry fan with internet muscles, shouting insults and hate-filled expletives they would never have the guts to say to his face, Perez has become the enemy.
So Perez did the right thing. He did the smart thing. He walked away.
No more negativity, he declared.
“We have an extremely positive and supportive group of players, coaches and staff members in our clubhouse,” he said in his statement. “I want to participate in activities and routines that contribute positively to the culture we’re building here.”
Good for him.
Social media may indeed have a certain appeal to celebrities and stars, but the downside often far outweighs the advantages.
“I think Perez is mentally weak,” a radio caller told me Tuesday. “He let the Twitter trolls get to him.”
By deleting his account and choosing to direct his “Pure Rage” at opposing hitters instead of internet trolls, I think Perez showed more mental strength than he ever has.
First...listen to THIS:
Remind you at all of THIS?
You gotta watch this dude! He's hilarious! But make sure there are no kids...or bosses...around.
**Language not safe for work.**
By Bob Frantz
Like the mid-May temperature in downtown Cleveland, let's go here, there and everywhere …
-- As dominant as Justin Masterson was in the first game of Monday's doubleheader, dominating the Yankees in a complete game, four-hit shutout, the most important start of the day may have been Trevor Bauer's in the nightcap. Bauer's third start as an Indian was by far his most impressive, as the phenom allowed just two earned runs and walked only two in 6 1/3 innings of work. Bauer is the real deal, and will be a fixture in the rotation for years to come. But not now. Here's hoping the Indians resist the temptation to rush the kid, allowing him to continue to refine himself, and his location, at Columbus for a little while longer.
-- Remember those worries about the Indians' offense crashing back to earth, having been held to three runs in three games to start the week, including back-to-back losses against the Yankees and Phillies? Well, in Wednesday's series finale in Philly, they put up 10 reasons to stop worrying. Oh, and you know how the Indians' No. 2 and No. 3 hitters haven't even started hitting yet? Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera combined to go 5-for-8 in the 10-4 win over the Phillies, with a homer, four runs scored, and five driven in. Yes, they'll hit.
-- One more thought on the Indians and Justin Masterson, and this one can be filed under "Better late than never." I was wiping yolk off my face at the end of last season after my July column declared:
"Masterson's presence gives the entire club, as well as a desperate fan base, a legitimate reason to believe a win is coming when his turn in the rotation rolls around. He has become a true "stopper," able to slam the breaks on losing streaks or just periods of poor play, and he seems to relish confrontations with other teams' aces."
Masterson's performance after that piece mirrored the Indians' awful collapse, making the high praise heaped upon him look foolish.
Let's just pretend that those words were penned this season, just before his back-to-back wins over both reigning Cy Young award winners, and before his pair of 1-0 complete game victories.
Like I said: Better late than never.
-- A trucking company in Alabama has filed a lawsuit against Jimmy Haslam's Pilot Flying J., alleging systemic fraud in the company's rebate program. If you're scoring at home, this suit brings the total number of claims filed against Haslam to six. With Phil Dawson now a 49er, no word out of Berea on who will be attempting the point after.
-- Michigan State has stripped recruit Jay Harris of his scholarship after the state's second-rated wideout uploaded several profanity-laced rap videos to YouTube. Harris says he'd rather become a rap star, choosing to smoke weed and preach rhythmic misogyny, violence and homophobia instead of catching footballs. I've seen one of his videos. He'll be a Dallas Cowboy in three years.
-- Bulls guard Derrick Rose had ACL surgery more than one full calendar year ago. He's been given a clean bill of health by every doctor who has examined him, and he even participates in full 5-on-5 scrimmages, looking as dominant as ever. Yet he refused to come back and help his gritty teammates, even as many of them played through debilitating pain and sickness in the second round of the playoffs against Miami. Rose says he is listening to his body, and he will not be intimidated into returning by critical fans and media. Somewhere in Minnesota, Adrian Peterson is shaking his head.
-- Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison says he spends roughly $600,000 per year on services for his body, including chiropractic care, skin care, acupuncture, and massages. Harrison chose to sign with the Bengals rather than the Browns this offseason, despite reported offers of hefty rebates on those services by Jimmy Haslam.
-- Still trying to confirm Jason Collins' status as the first "active" NBA player to come out as openly gay. When reporters went to Collins' teammates to get reactions to his announcement, they couldn't find any. That's because Collins isn't currently on a team. Until the 34-year-old center who averaged 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds in 38 games with the Wizards last year is actually signed by an NBA team, Collins may well be known simply as the latest "inactive" player to come out after his career ended.
-- Floyd Mayweather's greed is hurting his sport. For the second straight year, Mayweather has lived up to his nickname, as the highest paid earner in American sports. "Money May" will earn roughly $90 million in 2013, according to Sports Illustrated, while simultaneously helping to kill boxing. One million people bought his last fight on PPV, making him richer, but 20 million could have seen him if he'd fight on HBO. Fighting on cable once in a while would give boxing the shot in the arm it desperately needs as it continues to lose fans to MMA, but generating new fight fans doesn't matter to Mayweather. It's all about "Money" for Floyd, and it always will be.
- - -
Bob Frantz hosts "The Bob Frantz Show" on WTAM-AM 1100 from 7 p.m. to midnight weeknights, and following Cavaliers, Indians and Browns games.
**Warning** Video lyrics NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR CHILDREN
Jay Harris, a Rivals.com three-star wide receiver committed to Michigan State, gave up football to pursue his dream of becoming a rap star.
There may be a good reason for him wanting to pursue that career sooner than later.
Philly.com reports that Harris was stripped of his scholarship by Michigan State earlier this month after he posted a series of profanity-laced rap videos on YouTube.
Harris raps under the name “Jay DatBull,” and has uploaded nine videos to YouTube. Harris raps about drugs, women, and homosexuals and almost all of it contains explicit language.
His first single, “DatBull 4 Life,” has surpassed 50,000 views and appears to show Harris smoking marijuana while sitting behind the steering wheel of a car.