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VELAND -- Jarrod Dyson was upset enough over striking out in the ninth inning against the Indians on Monday, but what the Royals outfielder saw when he examined video of his at-bat after the game irked him even more.
After Chris Perez used a slider to strike out Dyson, the Cleveland closer waved his hand in front of his face. Perez did it once as he was walking off the mound and again when he looked in the direction of the Indians' bullpen in center field.
"It's just terrible," Dyson said prior to Tuesday's game between the Indians and Royals at Progressive Field. "As soon as I got done with my at-bat, I went down to see where the pitch was, because I felt like the pitch was in. I saw him do that and that [ticked] me off even more."
Dyson denied having any kind of history with Perez, but there was indeed something behind the pitcher's antics.
According to Perez, Dyson went out to dinner with his friend Tony Sipp (an Indians reliever) on Sunday night. Upset over a Perez comment made earlier this month referencing the Royals, Dyson told Sipp that Kansas City was going to be coming after the closer. That reached Perez, who decided to send a reply to the Royals.
Perez wanted Dyson to know that the next time the closer struck out the outfielder, the pitcher was going to do the gesture. Perez said the hand wave was the "You can't see me" move used by WWE wrestler John Cena.
"Dyson said their team's coming for me," Perez said. "So I said, All right, you're coming for me? I'm coming for you. If I strike you out, you're going to get the 'can't-see-me face.' That's what happened. Three pitches, and you can't see me."
Dyson said it was a good thing he did not see Perez's gesture while on the field.
"I probably would've reacted or something, maybe said something," Dyson said. "He did that like I was Albert Pujols or something. It is what it is, man. I can't do anything about it."
Perez did not care too much about Dyson's response.
"If he took offense to it, oh well. It happened," Perez said. "It's the same as if a hitter hits a home run. They come back to the dugout and they do all their hand-slapping stuff. We see that as pitchers and we don't take offense to hit because he hit a home run.
"If he didn't want to see that face, he shouldn't have talked [smack] to Sipp."
Indians manager Manny Acta noted that he had not heard any complaints from Royals manager Ned Yost.
"I really don't get involved in player stuff," Acta said. "I don't pay attention to too much of that stuff. If it's something that comes from Ned, then I'll get involved and I'll direct it directly with Ned."
The comment that Perez heard upset players inside Kansas City's clubhouse came during a May 20 session with reporters in Cleveland. Perez made some controversial comments about some Indians fans and went on to wonder why certain followers of the Tribe seemed so negative about the team.
"We're in first place. Enjoy it," Perez said at the time. "We could be in last place. We could be the Royals or the Pirates and haven't won anything in 20 years. We're not. Enjoy it. I don't understand the negativity."
In April, the Royals and Indians had two bench-clearing incidents in Kansas City that led to a controversial message from Perez, as well. After the April 14 fracas, Perez took to his Twitter account and took a shot at the Royals' team slogan, writing, "time for a sweep to tell the Royals it's not `Our Time', it's #TribeTime. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period."
Perez was slapped with a $750 fine from Major League Baseball for that tweet.
The closer, who has a 1.37 ERA and 17 saves over his past 21 appearances, said he thrives on pitching under pressure. Perez added that he has never had a problem with stirring up a little controversy along the way.
"I play for my teammates," Perez said. "If they're the only 25 guys in the league that like me, that's fine. And I know that's not the case. I've got former teammates on other teams and they know how I am. I've been doing this kind of stuff since college, honestly. It's just something that gets me fired up. You can interview some [University of] North Carolina guys that aren't too happy with me still about stuff I did in college. That's just how I am.
"In that situation [against Dyson], with that kind of energy, especially at home, I just feed off of that and I perform better. I don't know why. I don't know why, but I like having everybody against me, or at least having noise and having that other team trying to beat me just as bad as I'm trying to beat them."
Perez said he feels like he has a little more leeway right now with the Indians in first place. Along the same lines, Dyson, whose Royals are in fourth in the American League Central, did not feel he was in a position to enter into a war of words with Perez.
"If you don't win, you can't really say much," Dyson said. "There ain't much you can say if you don't beat him. You've got to beat him out there. Talking trash back and forth, that ain't going to get you nowhere until you beat somebody. That's how I look at it.
"When you beat him, you can talk all the trash you want. And it seems like that's how it's going with them on the other side."