DETROIT (CBS Detroit) First the benches cleared — then the war of words moved into the locker room, with both Victor Martinez and Grant Balfour blaming the other for the ALDS melee that broke out Monday.
“He gave me the death stare, he had the eyes locked on me like he wanted to come out,” the A’s Balfour said, explaining what he said happened when he faced 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 — angry words, four-letter words that were captured on camera.
Benches cleared without any punches being thrown. The A’s won the game, putting them ahead 2-1 in the division series.
“He knows what he was doing,” Balfour said, complimenting Martinez and saying he “likes a bit of fire.”
Martinez certainly was fired up, telling reporters in the locker room “not even the greatest closer acts like that … I don’t know what he expects me to do, watch the outfielder when he’s pitching?”
On the “death stare,” Martinez said, “Is that illegal, somebody from the MLB come and let me know, he can stare at me, I don’t care … I’m not a rookie, I’m not a little kid, I wouldn’t be intimidated.”
Martinez added: “Don’t come with that attitude to me, I don’t take that from anybody … You can stare at me as long as you want … At the end this is a battle, but don’t try to be a Superman on the mound, I don’t take it.”
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.”