Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It Isn't Easy Being Gay(lord)

Earlier this week Cleveland pitcher Cliff Lee became MLB's first 20 game winner of the season. He also became the first Indian to accomplish the feat since 1974, when Gaylord Perry went 21-13. Perry (and his ego) now finds himself speaking with members of the media for the first time in a long time (the last being when The New York Times did a piece on the social implications of the "spitball"). And as he discusses Lee's outstanding year, it is becoming evident Perry himself is very aware of just how long it took Cleveland to produce another 20 game winner.

Which brings us to this quote from Perry:

"I've been answering questions about 20 wins for 34 years," Perry drawled in his Southern twang last week, "so I'm glad it's somebody else's turn."

When I first read this all I could think was, "really Gaylord? This has actually been a problem for you? For the past 34 years people have really been demanding you answer questions about winning 20 games for a baseball team?

Then I did a bit more research and discovered ole' Gay isn't fibbing. Here are just a few of the many instances where Perry has been forced to endure questions about being the last pitcher to win 20 games for Cleveland. Let's just hope Cliff Lee isn't haunted by the same torture in the coming years.

10/18/1978 -- San Diego, CA

On his way home from dinner Perry is pulled over for running a stop sign. The police officer approaches Perry and asks to see his driver's license.

Police Officer (looking at license): Okay Mr. Perry, do you know why I pulled you over?

Perry: I guess I may have missed the stop sign back there. I'm sorry officer, it won't happen again.

Police Officer: Alright, I'll let you go with a warning this time, just be careful.

The police officer begins to walk away. After a few steps, he quickly turns back to Perry's car window.

Police Officer: One last thing -- you think anyone in Cleveland has a shot at winning 20 games within the next 5 years?

Perry: Ugh.

4/28/99 -- Honolulu, HI
Perry and his girlfriend Samantha enjoy a romantic 2-week vacation in Hawaii. While having sexual intercourse in their hotel room, Samantha abruptly rolls off Perry without warning and begins to blankly stare at the ceiling.

Perry: Sam, what's wrong?

Samantha: Its Bartolo Colon.

: Bartolo Colon, what about him?

Samantha: Do you think he could actually do it? (looks into Perry's eyes) Do you think he could win 20 games this season?

Perry: Come on baby, not again. I thought we said we wouldn't talk about this while in Hawaii.

3/19/02 -- Greenville, NC
Perry browses the computer printers at an area Best Buy. He approaches a 16-year-old employee working the floor.

Perry: Excuse me, can you help me decide between any of these printers?

Employee (turning around to look at Perry): Yeah, I--hold on. Aren't you Gaylord Perry?

Perry: Yeah.

Employee: Man, this is incredible. Listen Mr. Perry, I have been waiting my whole life to ask you one question. May I?

Perry: Okay.

Employee: Do you think it's the influx in bullpen usage or more a product of the steroid era as the main reason Cleveland hasn't had a 20 game winner?

Perry: Geez, I don't know kid. You're like 14 -- why are you even able to ask that question?

8/18/07 -- Williamston, NC
Perry sits at his breakfast nook to feast on a stack of syrup drenched waffles. As he cuts into his first bite Perry notices something peculiar in the food. He takes a closer examination and discovers there's a hole forming at the base of the waffles. The hole then takes the shape of a human mouth and begins to speak in a deep raspy voice.

Waffles: Why? Why Gaylord? Why hasn't anyone but you been able to win 20 games for the Tribe since the 1970's?

Perry (petrified): I-I-I don't-

Waffles (upset): Answer me! Why is this happening?

Perry then abruptly wakes up in his bed during the middle of the night. It had all been a terrible, all too real nightmare -- his third that week.

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