By: Jamie Samuelsen
It’s a bad sign for the Tigers that the most explosive part of the ALDS so far happened as a result of a foul ball.
During the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 3, A’s closer Grant Balfour was facing the Tigers Victor Martinez. With a 1-2 count, Martinez fouled a pitch out of play. As Balfour walked towards the plate to collect a new ball from home plate umpire Gary Darling, he and Martinez exchanged words. The words quickly became four-letter words, and the two players had to be separated. Benches cleared without any punches being thrown. But after Martinez lined out to right on the next pitch, Balfour appeared to say a few more things to Martinez as he retreated to the dugout.
A’s Manager Bob Melvin acknowledged after the game that Balfour may be the one to blame. “I know Balf talks to him self quite a bit,” Melvin said. “I think sometimes players think maybe he’s talking to them.”
Oakland first basemen Brandon Moss seemed to agree with his manager. “He’s yelling a lot and spitting everywhere,” Moss said. “Being a hitter, it can frustrate you a lot.”
There’s a very good chance that Balfour was talking to himself and Martinez misunderstood him. But either way, both players were running a little hot in the clubhouse afterwards.