The story behind the 19 hysterical Instagram videos featuring two Royals

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·MLB columnist
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Nobody questions the likeability of the Kansas City Royals. They bought $15,000 worth of drinks for fans at a downtown bar. They rolled out the red carpet for a longtime fan from South Korea. They embraced a terminally ill man like family. They won three straight extra-inning playoff games, swept the team with baseball’s best record and stand four wins from their first World Series in 29 years.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez has a jovial nature and a real talent with a camera phone. (USA TODAY)
Royals catcher Salvador Perez has a jovial nature and a real talent with a camera phone. (USA TODAY)

To top it, they’ve now done the impossible: make the creepshot Instagram video into a legitimately funny art form.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez and outfielder Lorenzo Cain star in 19 videos on Perez’s Instagram account, most of which follow the same motif: Perez starts filming when Cain isn’t aware. Cain gets mad. Perez tells Cain he loves him. Cain starts to respond and gets cut off in the middle of a sentence.

“As soon as he didn’t like it,” Perez said, “I started to do it more.”

Perez relishes playing troll to Cain’s patsy, and both excel in their roles. Perez, 24, is among the franchise’s most important players: bilingual, personable, perhaps the best fielding catcher in the American League and adept enough with the bat to have driven in the game-winning run in Kansas City’s epic wild-card win against Oakland. Cain, 28, thrust himself into similar standing this year with Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field and a steady enough bat to hit in the No. 3 hole.

Their bromance blossomed at the major league level, as Perez ascended to the majors quickly after Cain arrived in the Zack Greinke trade with Milwaukee. In mid-July, about a month after Perez opened his Instagram account, he found the video function. His first target was Cain, and the videos capture Perez’s affectionate ways.

“Salvy just comes up, kisses him every day, hugs him, does what he can,” Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. “They have a special relationship.”

While Cain doesn’t have an Instagram account of his own, he manages to see the videos. “They are pretty funny,” he admits. Yes, Perez executes his own brand of Instagram etiquette, rarely using the 15-second video threshold, often cutting off Cain mid-sentence, sneaking up on him and generally annoying the crap out of his friend. The result, though? The result is spectacular.

So good, in fact, that we’ve taken the liberty of ranking all 19 videos from worst to best, so enjoy.

19.

Oct. 3
Location: Angel Stadium trainer’s room
Summary: Cain is getting a massage. Perez’s foot is in the picture. Considering this came during the postseason, a mulligan is in order, because it’s a snoozer.

18.

Date: Sept. 3
Location: Kauffman Stadium elevator
Summary: Perez starts with a selfie, calls Cain “mi hermanito” – my little brother, his most common refrain throughout the videos – to which Cain replies: “What? English!” Cain ducks. Perez’s selfie game is too strong to let him escape, though.

17.

Date: Aug. 16

Location: Target Field
Summary: Perez opens with back-to-back hermanitos. Cain snaps away. “Hey! You best not put me on …;” Perez interrupts. Cain laughs, a rare break in character.

16.

Date: July 20
Location: Fenway Park
Summary: Perez grins and says “Hermanito Cain!” As he pans, Cain protests: “No! No!” Perez leans in. Cain says: “Mueve! Move! Get off of me. Get of me. Don’t touch me!” This will become a theme. Also a sign of Cain’s burgeoning Spanish-language skills.

15.

Date: Sept. 14
Location: Intercontinental Hotel, Kansas City
Summary: Royals sideline reporter Joel Goldberg is emceeing first baseman Eric Hosmer’s charity event. Perez uses a tremendous sneak attack on Cain, who responds: “Don’t touch me! I’m trying to have a good time. You alr…;” Perez cuts the video, leaving Cain’s grievances for history, or maybe Festivus.

14.

Date: Aug. 24
Location: Rangers Ballpark
Summary: Cain gets heated: “Don’t touch me, man. Hey. Turn that camera off. Turn it off right now.” Perez considers the request, then replies: “No.” Cain’s response: “I’m not playing, man. I’m gonna …” Perez shuts off the video, furthering the mystery of what, exactly, Cain was going to do.

13.

Date: Aug. 24
Location: Rangers Ballpark
Summary: Apparently Cain was not going to do anything. Perez almost immediately starts the video back. “Hermanito!” he says. “Hey, say hi to the people.” Perez loves talking about “the people.” He has more than 36,000 followers, and he’s right: The people, at least those in the comments, like these videos more than anything else Perez posts. Cain comes as close as he ever will to feigning annoyance: “Stop recording me all the time!”

12.

Date: Aug. 14
Location: Downtown Kansas City, on airplane
Summary: Cain, wearing a suit, confesses: “I don’t like Instagram.” Perez, perplexed, replies: “Por que?” Cain: “Because I don’t want people watching me sing.” Sing? Cain sings? (Oh, just wait.) Perez lays the trump card: “The people like that.”

11.

Date: Aug. 13
Location: Kauffman Stadium
Summary: Cain sings, rather horribly, along with Chris Brown’s version of “This Christmas.” Adding to the ambience is Perez’s furtive recording, which is obvious because the entire video is shot diagonally. What a beautiful creep.

10.

Date: Oct. 6
Location: Kauffman Stadium
Summary: The most recent video. Cain is holding his shoes and a drink. “Hermanito! Hermanito!” Perez says. Cain points to Perez: “The last video, OK? The last one. I’m gone.” Perez’s response: “I love you.” The chances Perez accedes to Cain’s request? Approximately 0.0 percent.

9.

Date: Sept. 23
Location: Progressive Field
Summary: The video starts with Cain walking to grab some dinner. He tries to close the door on Perez, who translates his vaunted blocking skills to the door. “Hey, I’m trying to eat my food,” Cain says. Apropos of nothing, Perez interjects: “I love you, my friend. I love you like a brother, different mother.” Perez loves calling Cain his brother from another mother.

8.

Date: Oct. 1
Location: Angel Stadium
Summary: Return of Lo Cain, vocalist. Worse than last time. “I wanna know … ” John Fogerty belts. “Have you ever seen … THE RAIN?” Cain intones. He is into it. Like, super into it. And he has no idea Perez is filming him, making it so much better.

7.

Date: Oct. 1
Location: Angel Stadium
Summary: The day after the Royals beat Oakland, Perez is creep-shotting Cain, who figures it out quickly. He sips water and side-eyes Perez, who remains in the frame with a Cheshire cat grin. “Man, it’s too early for that,” Cain says. “We got in at 4 o’clock in the morning. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Ain’t nobody got ti…” Ain’t nobody got time for complaints, Lorenzo.

6.

Date: Sept. 10
Location: Detroit Airport
Summary: On the Royals’ charter, Perez wants to embrace his hermanito. “I don’t want a hug, man,” Cain says. “Why you want a hug?” The reason is evident: “Because I love you like a brother, different mother.” Not only is this the introduction of the half-brother scenario, Perez agrees to shake Cain’s hand, then smothers him with a hug. Because if we’ve learned anything about Salvador Perez, it’s that the word no does not exist.

5.

Date: July 23
Location: U.S. Cellular Field
Summary: Starts with a standard request from Perez: “Say something for the people. I’m talking to you.” Ends with Cain falling down. It is unclear what trips him up, why he falls or how the guy who made these catches cannot stay on his feet. Whatever the case, the caption on Instagram from Perez informs us of the most important thing: “he’s okay.”

4.

Date: Sept. 24
Location: Progressive Field
Summary: Cain sits on the couch, straddling a teammate, whose legs hang out like the Wicked Witch of the West from under the house. Cain turns around. “Dyson!” he yells. Cain stands up to confront Dyson, who’s taking the video, and who’s the owner of the legs? Perez, of course, who stands up and puts arms in the air, almost exactly like he would do six days later when he walked off the A’s in the wild-card game.

3.

Date: Sept. 25

Location: U.S. Cellular Field
Summary: Perez is shushing. Who is he shushing? Me? You? The people? It doesn’t matter. The shot pans to Cain. Poor guy doesn’t know what to say anymore. “Why?” he musters. Resignation spreads across his face. “Why?” The entire time, Perez wears the most giant smile possible. If victory was not achieved already, it was assured Sept. 25.

2.

Date: July 18, 2014

Location: Fenway Park
Summary: Where it all started. “Con mi amigo, Lorenzo Cain!” Perez says. Cain, playing along, completely unaware of what the next three months will hold, leans in, lifts his voice an octave and says, “Oh, lemme take a selfie!” Both stop and smile. Cain may or may not understand this is video. This is not enough for Perez, even if it’s enough for the people. “Hermaniiiito,” Perez bellows. He then touches Cain’s head. Twice. “C’mon, man! I told you!” Cain says. “What’d you tell me?” Perez replies. Cain slaps his hand away. “Hey, people gonna see that,” Perez says. Yes, Salvador. People sure are.

1.

Date: Aug. 25
Location: Kauffman Stadium
Summary: Nearly every video of Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain involves them sitting. The magic of this is that it starts mid-action, with Perez following Cain around the Royals’ clubhouse. “You always playin’, man,” Cain says. “Stop recording.” These are the last words he’ll say. He starts running and pulls a hairpin turn around a giant stanchion in the Royals’ home clubhouse. “Where you going!?” Perez asks desperately. Cain’s shower shoes flop against the carpet. He runs past the bathrooms … and screams. It is not a normal scream. It is a caterwaul, like he’s being chased by a demonic spirit. Or a catcher with a cell phone. One of the two. The video cuts off with Cain booking through two doors and past about 50 old-school Royals jerseys on hangers.

“The one when Cain’s running away is the greatest,” Hosmer said. “Phenomenal.”

It is, and it’s one of the reasons social media can be so wonderful. Cain isn’t the sort to share these moments, but people in Kansas City – and those around the country boarding the bandwagon – appreciate a better sense of who, exactly, these guys are.

Then again, maybe this isn’t the best representation of that.

“I never really, actually get mad,” Cain said. “Not once.”

Good. Because that means Perez can keep recording, Cain can keep getting indignant and, best of all, the people can keep getting what they love.

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