"Cleveland Rocks" again in 2011. The Indians have been baseball's surprise team after jumping out to a 20-8 start to lead the American League Central. The Tribe has enjoyed resurgent seasons from players like Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, has continued developing future stars like Carlos Santana, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, and with Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin and Fausto Carmona, has a starting rotation that has been as good as any in the league.
The Indians also have an emerging star closer in Chris Perez, a hard thrower acquired from St. Louis in a trade for Mark DeRosa in June of 2009. A modernized version of old-school closers like Rich Gossage, Al Hrabosky or Mitch Williams, Perez is often compared to HBO's fictional pitching star, Kenny Powers. He's also one of baseball's consistent Twitter users, giving fans and followers a regular Song of the Day selection. With the Indians on the road in Chicago to play the White Sox, Perez joined me for an interview via Twitter. As many of his fans followed, we had this conversation. It's the Chris Perez Twitterview, in 140 characters or fewer.
SB: You converted 18 of your final 19 save opportunities in 2010 and are 10/11 this year. What's your secret?
CP: Face the bottom of the order. J/k-Get that first batter out, and usually the inning goes smoothly.
SB: And when things get a little bumpy? Then were does that extra gas come from?
CP: usually adrenaline. When things get sticky, I sacrifice location for velocity and movement
SB: It's your 4th season in MLB, 2 with Cardinals and 2 with Indians. How have the experiences been different?
CP: StL was a great place to break in with all the fanfare,I learned to be a professional there.
SB: How is Cleveland different for you then, based on that time in St. Louis?
CP: Cleveland is a lot more fun personally b/c we are a young team. This is also where I really got my first chance to close
SB: Is Tony La Russa really baseball's smartest manager?
CP: I would have to say yes; he doesn't miss any aspect of any game ever. He also can recall game details from the 70's
SB: What was it like to be told "you've been traded'?
CP: at that time it was both upsetting and very exciting. It was definitely mixed emotions.
SB: What was most upsetting about it?
CP: I was on a 1st place team going to a last place team
SB: Yes, but that's certainly changed!! How has Cleveland met with your expectations, then?
CP: This year has been great. The city is coming alive behind us right now, and everyone on the team can feel the energy.
SB: ur Twitter profile says ur "Just a normal guy with an arm like a *blank* cannon." What's it like to throw THAT hard?
CP: On days where it's harnessed it's pretty fun. There's some days when I don't have to throw off-speed or hit the corners
CP: we call those challenge fests
SB: Ha! Why Challenge Fests?
CP: I'm challenging the hitter every pitch, not trying to locate or trick them
SB: Then do you ever see fear in a hitter's eye during a "challenge fest?"
CP: I don't think I have ever seen fear, but definitely a few deep breaths and some muttering
SB: Do you see that and then know, "I've got this guy talking to himself."?
CP: I try not to b/c they can always do damage at the next pitch. If its after a K than it feels good inside
SB: Your full name is Christopher Ralph Perez. Who is Ralph?
CP: It was my Grandfather's name who passed away before I was born. Its also my Dad's middle name
SB: Cool, a family tradition then! Is that something you think you'll carry on?
CP: I actually broke it when my son was born last year. He's Maxwell Alexander. Ralph really didn't fit. Mybe the next one
SB: You were a criminology major at U of Miami. What's the greatest TV cop show every & why?
CP: I think all of the Law and Order franchises are the best. Esp SVU. They really do a good job of showing the justice...
system and law enforcement have to work so closely. It also raises a lot of moral questions
SB: Almost done. How did you start tweeting your Song of the day for your fans & followers every day?
CP: I actually borrowed the idea from my mgr @Mactriber_11; but I think my choices are better
SB: Ha. Then why are your choices better & how would you describe your iTunes library?
CP: He listens to a lot of 80's and pop; I have everything in my library;Rock,Country,Rap,Oldies, I like all types of music
SB: Does your Song of the day then, give your followers an idea of how you're feeling that day?
CP: Yeah. I don't pre-choose them. I wake up and scroll through my library and pick a song I really enjoy. SOTD are my favorite songs in my library
SB: You closed win vs. KC this week by hurling a ball as hard as you could toward CF fence. A new trademark signature?
CP: No. That was a one time show only
SB: What was that about then?
CP: Just needed to make one more pitch. Needed to let out a little steam
SB: Do you get many Kenny Powers comparisons and what do you think about them?
CP: I do get that a lot. We have some similarities but he's definitely more outspoken
SB: Chris, many thanks for your time & for taking part. I really appreciate it!
CP: Thank you Steve!
SB: We'll be looking for those SOD picks every day! Best of luck.
CP: Same here. Enjoy watching BBTN, everyone watches
Thanks to Chris and to all those who followed the Chris Perez Twitterview live! I'll be conducing these Designated Twitter, Twitterviews all season long. Look for the next one in a couple of weeks. To get Chris Perez's Song of the Day selection every day, you can follow Chris: @ChrisPerez54 If your musical tastes favor more 80's or Pop selections, follow Indians manager Manny Acta: @Mactriber_11.
For more Designated Twitter, Twitterviews as well as daily MLB coverage you can watch Steve Berthiaume on Baseball Tonight on ESPN and follow Steve on Twitter @SBerthiaumeESPN.