Howie Kendrick Embarrasses Indians, Chris Perez Embarrasses Himself

Johnathan KronckeCorrespondent IApril 30, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 28:  Howie Kendrick #47 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lays down a bunt with two out in the ninth inning to score Torii Hunter from third base with the winning run against the Cleveland Indians on April 28, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Angels won 4-3.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Tom Hanks said it first, and it bears repeating: there's no crying in baseball.

Apparently, Chris Perez hasn't seen “A League of Their Own.”

The Cleveland Indians reliever popped the cork on a fresh bottle of whine after Howie Kendrick bunted his way to a walk-off win for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday.

“It was a bad baseball play that happened to work out,” Perez told the press. “I don't want to say it was bush league. But you never see that.

“Ninety-nine percent of hitters in that situation would rather win the game with a hit, not a bunt.”

And ninety-nine percent of pitchers would rather take their lumps like men and move on.

At the ripe old age of 24, Perez's wisdom, to say the least. I should know, I'm a month older than he is.

His credibility is neither strengthened by his time in the league, which totals three years—if you include 2010. His experience with the finer points of situational hitting is also rather brief considering his whopping one career at-bat.

Two years ago.

Kendrick, meanwhile, is batting .308 with five doubles and a home run in his fifth big league season. Wednesday's game-winner was also his second walk-off hit.

If Perez wants to see a guy swing, he would do well to find someone with a little less talent.

But who's to say it would stop there? What if Kendrick had lined that ball right back at the portly pitcher?

I suppose that would be bush league as well. You can't expect a guy of his to build to move around the field all athletic-like.

Angels outfield prospect Chris Pettit said as much in a post on Twitter earlier today, saying “if you [Perez] lost 45 pounds and could get off the mound you wouldn't be complaining about losing.”

It should be noted that tweet was quickly taken down as part of Major League Baseball's recent effort to censor players and personnel online. Still, Pettit's message rings true: players must take responsibility for their own shortcomings.

Perez's frustration is understandable, but entirely misdirected. There is no sense in blaming someone else for a situation he himself controls.

Pettit could just as easily lash out against older players for preventing his ascension to the big leagues by clogging the up the outfield positions.

He could bash GM Tony Reagins for signing aging veterans on the downsides of their careers. He could blame manager Mike Scioscia for playing those veterans.

But he doesn't.

Indians manager Manny Acta could throw Perez under the bus for leaving his one and only pitch over the heart of the plate.

But he doesn't.

Scioscia could gripe to the third base umpire for calling Hideki Matsui out on a swing that came half an hour after the pitch was thrown.

Okay, bad example.

What's important to remember is that baseball is a game where team success is built on individual performance, perhaps more than any other sport. Perez's failure to make a good pitch and then respond quickly in the field cost the Indians the game.

His only comments to the press should have included a humble apology and a dedication to do better next time. The loss was bitter enough without the sour grapes that followed.