Chris Perez lights the city's fire: My Cleveland

Once the baseball season begins Thursday, Indians closer Chris Perez will be storming the mound to the strains of "Firestarter" and seeking the final outs in close wins.

Q. How do you feel about being called Pure Rage?
A. I like it. It's not what I try to portray, but it's what I am. I get fired up.'

Q. How do you like being called the Don of the Bullpen Mafia?
A. The first rule of the club is don't talk about the club.

Q. Oh, talk a little.
A. It's a unity thing. Those guys put in most of the work and make me look good.

Q. How's your left oblique coming along?
A. It's been frustrating having to deal with this injury, but it could be worse. I'm feeling really good and am ready for the beginning of the season.

Q. When was your first glimpse of Cleveland?
A. On St. Louis, we played interleague here in 2009. I said, "This city's not bad. The stadium's beautiful." Two weeks later, I got traded here.

Q. Where have you stayed in town?
A. My wife and I lived in Westlake the first year. Last year, we lived in Lakewood, right on the lake, and got more flavor of Cleveland. We'd walk to a diner or a drugstore. This year, we found a place in Rocky River.

Q. Is our weather hard on a Tampa guy like you?
A. The weather's similar and different than Florida. It's similar because it can be bright and sunny, and 20 minutes later there's a thunderstorm.
It's nice here in the summers. Last April, it was overcast a lot, with cold rain. That's hard for anybody.

Q: Can you handle our midges?
A. One night against Oakland, it was pretty bad. A thousand flew up. You just try to block it out.

Q. How's our scenery compare with Florida's?
A. I lived on the water in Florida, so Cleveland reminds me of home. I like how East Ninth Street dips down toward the water. When the sun hits, it's beautiful.

But I'm used to the water being on the west. The lake being north threw me a little.

Q. What else is different here?
A. I like how many pockets of Cleveland are locally owned. People remember your name. It's a hometown feeling. The dry cleaners remember my order. You stay in your community and shop around the corner.

Q. Any game-day superstitions?
A. Nothing, really. I have more of a routine. After the game, coming off the field, I don't step on the baselines. It's a little respect for the field.

Q. Tell us something quirky about a teammate.
A. Roberto Hernandez, he keeps all the price tags on his hats.

Q. Where do you and Melanie grab a bite?
A. My wife and I go to Tremont, to Lucky's. We like their natural food. They have a garden. In Westlake, we'd eat at the Cabin steakhouse.

Q. Where do you go for ice cream?
A. We like Mitchell's. My wife likes cotton candy, and I usually get a "Browns" brownie with cookies and cream and rocky road, or a chocolate peanut butter shake.

Q. Where for fun?
A. We like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I became friends with one of the curators, Jim Henke. We talk baseball and music.

Q. Do you have a favorite local group?
A. The Black Keys in Akron. In the bullpen, Tony Sipp plays Kid Cudi and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

Q. Where do you take Maxwell?
A. We took him to the park in Lakewood overlooking the lake last year. He hasn't been in the lake yet. He was too young. Maybe this year.

Q. Where do you get haircuts, if ever?
A. I've gotten haircuts in Norwalk, Ohio. The owners of the Christian Roberts spa are big Indians fans.

Q. How do you like Cleveland fans?
A. They're diehards. They're very loyal. They're really hungry for a championship, but they appreciate good effort.

Q. Do you believe in the Cleveland curse?
A. There's just been some bad luck, and that's sports. Eventually it's going to happen, and Clevelanders are going to be really proud.

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