Sports With Shook: Aug. 27

Nick Shook

No extinguisher needed for “Pure Rage” Perez’s fiery words

Typically, this column will center around one main story topic.

But with four months of down time from consistently writing columns, I’m going to throw multiple stories in here. I hope you don’t get angry like Cleveland Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez did. Or maybe that’s exactly what I’d like to see.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, search Perez’s name on Google. You’ll find a link to an iPhone video, shot by an Oakland Athletics fan whose friend really enjoyed heckling opposing players. But what the fan didn’t know is, there are three players in the modern history of the game who you should never, ever mess with: John Rocker, Albert Belle and Perez (and coincidentally all Indians at one point in their careers.)

Perez has — in this season alone — called out Indians fans for not showing up to see their team, vomited on the infield grass at Busch Stadium in St. Louis after he retired the final batter in a victory, attacked the Kansas City Royals via Twitter, and fired a shot back at a detractor on Twitter.

This latest occurrence shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Perez went after a fan who, according to the closer, has been heckling the former Miami Hurricane for four years. This was no individual instance, says Perez. He initially tried to avoid the fan by shagging fly balls in left-center field, but eventually decided to confront the man. Perez ended the confrontation by requesting the man be removed from the stadium by Perez, and then telling the man to remove a part of his anatomy from his mouth. The vocabulary used by Perez was less than professional, but in my opinion, you can’t condemn the man for being upset.

Perez is known as “Pure Rage” for good reason. He plays the game with plenty of emotion and intensity, because he truly cares about his performance and that of his team. He’s fired up from warm ups until he retires the final batter of the game. When he does blow a save, he tends to get very upset and take his anger out on a tub of Dubble Bubble chewing gum in the dugout [Perez loses temper].

I liked to see Perez go off on the fan. The Indians have the worst record in the majors since the All-Star break, again ruining what appeared to be a promising season. Perez defended his ability, asking the fan “was I an All-Star again?” I’m not upset about this, because at least Perez defended himself and his team, and showed that he still cares.

Testosterone trouble

San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was having of heck of a comeback year, tested positive for testosterone, a banned performance enhancer, and was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball. It was a disappointing end to what was a great story for a player who appeared to elevate his playing ability with a new team. But he wasn’t the only big league player to test positive for a PED.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon also tested positive for testosterone, and was subsequently suspended 50 games by the MLB. The 39-year-old starter, who has suited up for a number of big league clubs since being traded from the Indians to the Montreal Expos in the famous trade that landed the Tribe Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Cliff Lee, won 10 games for Oakland in 2012. Now he won’t take the mound again this season, and this could mean the end of his professional career.

My question to both of them is: how did you think, while you were injecting yourself with the steroid, that you would get away with breaking the rules? This is no longer the steroid era in baseball, in which the MLB turned a blind eye to players who juiced up. It was obvious that these guys were going to get caught. Shame on them.

Steinbach hangs it up

Former Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns offensive guard Eric Steinbach called it quits Wednesday after nine years in the NFL. Steinbach, who missed only three starts from 2003-2010 as a member of the Browns and Bengals, sat out all of 2011 after injuring his back, which required surgery to repair. The Browns released Steinbach, and he was signed by the Miami Dolphins this offseason.

Steinbach’s level of play was lagging, and in an episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” which chronicles one team’s training camp (2012 features the Dolphins), Steinbach was shown talking with head coach Joe Philbin about his struggles, and how he would be held out of Miami’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. His retirement should come as no surprise, but it does mark the end of a successful career, which included his inclusion as a first alternate for the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl. The Iowa product should be proud of his accomplishments as a football player. As ESPN 850-WKNR’s Aaron Goldhammer (@HammerNation19) said on Twitter, “Shout out to Eric Steinbach. Great player. Great dude. Miss him in locker room.”

Cheers to you and your new retirement, Eric.

Uniform upheaval

Football season is just around the corner, which means plenty of college teams will be debuting new uniform looks in the coming weeks. Oregon, Nike’s favorite son, released a new set of uniforms: to bring their total of possible uniform combinations to nearly infinity. I love their new duds; innovative, eye-catching and attractive.

Nebraska:Tech Fit and Wisconsin:Tech Fit received new alternate uniforms from equipment provider Adidas, featuring giant letters on the chest of the jersey. The company borrowed this look from last season’s alternates for Michigan: — which looked good because they had a retro feel to them. These uniforms, however, are at best mediocre.

Notre Dame, one of the most storied programs in college football, will also sport a new alternate look for their game against the Miami Hurricanes in Chicago. One uniform that Adidas got right when making retro looks in 2011 was Notre Dame’s, with their special “Under the Lights” set that they wore against Michigan. But this 2012 set is absolutely atrocious.

More than half of the helmet is a textured gold paint, but then approximately 3/8 of the helmet is navy blue, with an oversized Fighting Irish logo slapped on the navy side: ugly — It’s awful, and it makes me angry, because no one has the right to toy with Notre Dame’s traditional look.

Adidas is trying way too hard to be Nike with its version of the “Pro Combat” uniforms. Give it up, Adidas, and stick to soccer.

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