You may think you're safe, sardonic fans of the Chicago Cubs, but newly acquired outfielder Fernando Perez is watching you. And if you step out of line with your Internet snark, this Columbia grad who has been published in both the New York Times and Poetry Magazine, will strike like a coiled cobra. WAH-CHA!
The trouble started when The Cubs Brickyard, a local blog (or maybe not so local ... it's the Internet, who knows), posted this valiant attempt at parody about Perez in which he's depicted as going from a Cubs convention
attendant attendee to a featured player following his acquisition as part of the Matt Garza trade. Little did the writer, who posts under the sobriquet "AceCubbie" at Bleed Cubbie Blue and as just "Ace" at Bleacher Nation, know that the 27-year-old speedster who will be vying for a bench role with the Cubs this spring, has operatives all over these here Interwebz. And he was not pleased.
Perez fired back on his "...outfielding..." Tumblr blog, calling out AceCubbie's poor word choices and shoddy spelling. He also rightly points out that the pedophile joke was pretty weak, and he nails the would-be parodist on his convenient anonymity. But the story doesn't end there.
In a surprising and admirable twist, Ace issued this mea culpa, apology and admission of suckiness. To his credit, he knew he'd been busted -- let's face it, once your story makes Deadspin, there's no use hiding anymore -- and he owned up to dashing off a hastily written post to fulfill his princely duties as an Internet baseball scribe. Kind of like I'm doing right now. (Ha ha, I kid. Or do I?)
Perez responded in kind, accepting Ace's apology and offering one of his own. But he also reveals some interesting bits about his own self-awareness:
I am the random outfielder tossed in the Garza deal, I did hit .223 last year…we athletes have thick skin (our ‘souls’ a matter of statistical record?).
And the inevitable disparity between the guys on the field and those of us here behind our keyboards:
You can change "Ace" to "Dudeman" while we athletes do our jobs in glass gerbil tanks.
Of course, as Perez's now widely circulated YouTube clip makes clear (a parody of his own, in a manner of speaking), he also gets paid fairly handsomely for playing inside that gerbil tank.
All in all, this is one of the more interesting incidents of athlete-meets-fan-on-the-Internet to scroll up our screens in recent years. And it's further evidence that blogs and social media are creating often unexpected avenues we can traverse to learn more about the players we root for (or against, as the case may be) -- and by which they can reach us.