Grant Balfour, the fiery closer for the Oakland Athletics, is known to shout things to himself on the mound. And those things aren't always PG-13, if you catch our drift. He's an intense dude who, by the nature of his job, pitches in intense moments.
Victor Martinez, the the Detroit Tigers designated hitter, wasn't a fan of Balfour's intensity act during the ninth inning of Monday's ALDS Game 3. With Balfour in to protect Oakland's 6-3 lead, he was his usual loud self. But Martinez — who said after the game he was not going to be intimidated by Balfour — took exception and starting yelling back at him. It's hard to say whether Balfour was yelling at himself (again, he does that) or yelling at Martinez when this started, but it's clear that Martinez took it personally.
The upshot? Folks watching at home heard baseball players exchanging F-bombs, then both benches cleared, the bullpens too, and we go to see a throng of baseball players stare at each other one more time this season. Nothing happened, though Balfour looked like he was just as likely to throw a punch as he was a baseball.
Here's video of what happened. Warning: Foul language.
Luckily for Balfour and the A's, this didn't pump up the Tigers and put them in comeback mode. Martinez flew out to right field, and Balfour followed with outs two and three despite a walk. But with the teams now headed to a Game 4 on Tuesday in Detroit, might this be a spark plug for the Tigers, who have lost two straight games? We'll see.
Here's what the two sides were saying in the clubhouse after the game.
Martinez said he became upset because Balfour told him, "What the (expletive) are you looking at?" Martinez said he takes that from no one.
— Freep Tigers (@freeptigers) October 7, 2013
Balfour: "He gave me the death stare. I said, if you have a problem, come on out. And he came out." — Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) October 7, 2013
Victor Martinez says he refuses to be intimidated by Balfour — Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 7, 2013
Norris: "Balfour always likes to win the stare-down til someone looks away." — Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) October 7, 2013
Reddick: "We know Balfour is very mouthy out there. That's the way he's going to pitch." Calls his language "not very age appropriate." — Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) October 7, 2013
Balfour on V-Mart: "If you're going to stare me down, come on. That's all I said. So he did. We had a jaw match. It's all fun and games." — James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) October 7, 2013
Balfour: "He knows what he’s doing. It’s all good. He’s a great competitor and a great hitter. I like a little fire. Obviously he does too." — Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) October 7, 2013
And now, for comic relief, A's pitcher Brett Anderson:
Fun fact of the day: the visiting bullpen in Detroit feels like a solid mile when running in after the benches clear. — Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson49) October 7, 2013