Everybody hates Chris (Perez) in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Perez will take his place along the first-base foul line along with the rest of the American League All-Star team tonight at Kauffman Stadium.

The Cleveland Indians closer is likely to be booed more than any of the 68 players on the two teams, and he is fine with that.

"I'm sure it's going to happen," Perez said Monday. "That's OK, though."

The 27-year-old with the bushy black hair and beard to match then broke into a grin.

"I'm with the American League," Perez said. "I'm with the home team this time and I hope the Kansas City fans realize we're all in this together."

Perez drew the ire of Kansas City fans on April 14 when he made fun of the Royals' marketing slogan "It's Our Time," on Twitter after the teams had two benches-clearing incidents that day in Kansas City. The Indians used the slogan "It's Tribe Time Now," for a number of seasons before switching to "What If?" this year.

Perez also got into a war of words with Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson on May 29 after Perez struck out Dyson to end the game. Perez made the "I Can't See You" sign, popularized by World Wrestling Entertainment performer John Cena.

"I just don't get Kansas City using 'It's Our Time Now,' because they stole our slogan," Perez said. "What do they mean it's their time now? That's a front-office thing, a marketing department thing. It's not coming from their players."

When he isn't comparing marketing ideas in the AL Central, Perez continues to develop into one of the top closers in the major leagues. He converted 24 consecutive opportunities between blown saves on opening day and the final day of the first half.

With 24 saves, Perez is third in the AL behind Baltimore's Jim Johnson (26) and Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney (25). Perez was fourth in the league with 36 last season.

Yet Perez has developed a reputation nationally more for his controversial comments than for pitching for an Indians team that is in second place in the AL Central, three games behind the Chicago White Sox. A member of the Indians media relations department stood near Perez for much of the 45-minute media availability with AL players on Monday.

"I say what I feel and I've always been that way," Perez said. "I'm not trying to cause trouble. When people ask questions, I answer them from the heart. That's how I've always been and how I always will be. I don't apologize for that because you should never have to apologize for being honest.

"I know there are players who (the media) already knows what they are going to say before the interview starts. I don't want to be like that. I want people to know how I feel."

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