For those of you who are also suckers for a good baseball story involving fathers and sons, Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez has one that will warm your winter bones.
In a recent interview with Jim McCarthy Jr. of Bleacher Report, the 26-year-old right-hander related the tale of how much he enjoyed his first-trip to the All-Star game — and how he made sure to thank his father for being there for him during every step of his career.
"The morning of the All-Star game there was a family brunch for the players and their families," Chris Perez said. "Before entering the brunch, they handed out All-Star rings. When I picked mine up, they asked me to try it on. (I already had planned to give the ring to my Dad, so I had told them to make the ring 5 sizes too big for me.) My Dad was right next to me and noticed how big it was on me. I tried to play it off, but he kept making a deal about it. So finally I just walked away.
"Flash forward to after the game, my family and I are relaxing back in the hotel, and I pulled out the ring and gave it to him. He was shocked/surprised/happy/speechless. I couldn't think of anyone else that deserved the ring more than him; he's the reason I love the game, and the reason I became an All-Star."
That's great stuff right there. Though Perez never saw the field during the Midsummer Classic, the expanded rosters still gave he and his father the chance to share a special moment like Heath Bell did with his dad the year before. There are a lot of arguments to be made against the expanded rosters, but this is definitely one for them.
If you're wondering what Perez's dad thought of the gesture, you're also in luck. Tim Perez told his side of the story to the Bradenton Herald last July.
"I wasn't expecting it. We were in the room, and Chris just said 'I want to give you something,'" [Tim Perez] recalled. "My first reaction was, 'Son this is your ring. And he says 'No, dad, I wouldn't here without you.' I wasn't expecting anything. I was just a dad supporting his son."
Just a dad supporting his son. And a son paying thanks to his dad. Maybe some of you roll your eyes at the saccharine sweetness of it all, but I don't think it gets much better.
Chris Perez finished the 2011 season with 36 saves and a 3.32 ERA, but like his Indians, stumbled a bit in the second half. It'll probably take another stellar first half from both sides for Perez to make another All-Star game, but it sounds like it'll be tough to top the moment that he and his pops had during his first trip.
Big BLS H/N: Waiting For Next Year