Chris Perez has rubbed people in the AL Central the wrong way before -- just ask Alex Rios. Following Cleveland's sweep of Detroit, Perez stirred the pot again, with MLB.com's Jason Beck passing along the quote he gave when asked about the Indians garnering some national attention:
I hope so. I dont think we care. Were not like flipping on ESPN to see if were leading off SportsCenter. We dont care. They do their thing. They cover the Yankees and the Red Sox and how bad the Angels are. Were doing our own thing. Theyll eventually turn. I saw a couple articles. Were starting to get some love. Its just we dont have the star power. You look over there and youve got Cabrera and Fielder and Verlander and Valverde. But that doesnt win baseball games. Good teams win baseball games.
Perez is right: Detroit doesn't have much depth. But Cabrera, Fielder and Valverde have been part of the problem in their own ways -- Cabrera has been very good, but not elite as he has in the past. Fielder has been merely good, not very good or elite as he's been in the past. And Valverde has crashed hard after his tenuously-perfect 2011, posting an ERA above 5 heading into the weekend.
Of course, it's still early, and Perez may see these words come back to haunt him if Detroit goes on the run so many are expecting. And this direct of a call-out probably will earn Perez an enemy tag in Detroit.
Oh, and the line about ESPN's coverage probably has the entire Midwest yelling "THANK YOU!"