Driving back from Indiana today, I was unable to catch the baseball game on television, but from what I heard it seemed like the Oakland Athletics out-played the Tigers today. They played better defense, ran the bases better, definitely had better pitching, but all of their efforts will probably be lost because, like me when I got home and ran to the internet, saw a video of Grant Balfour acting like a four-letter word that starts with “D” and ends with “K” (…yes, mom, “Duck.” He was a major, apocolyptic, throbbing duck).
His behavior was completely uncalled for, and it really cast a black shadow over the fantastic play of the A’s today. A lot of people on Twitter and in sports media initially brushed it off as Balfour being “a gamer,” and being “a very intense player,” and often “yelling to pump himself up.” Well, here’s a video of the exchange, with NSFW language, and you can hear Balfour basically picking a fight with Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez:
You can obviously hear Balfour screaming at Martinez, who, after fouling the ball off and noticed Balfour shrieking at him, had a look of, “What is that guy yelling about?” plastered on his face. Balfour, Bro’ing out as much as anyone has Bro’d before, startings with the “F*ck you” and the “b*tches” and just in general carries himself like a completely unhinged lunatic.
Martinez, as a veteran known for being affable, fun-loving, and just in general a great ambassador for the game of baseball, took deserved umbrage towards Balfour’s nonsense, per Mlive:
"“I mean, (expletive) him,” said Martinez, who needed to be restrained by first-base coach Rafael Belliard. “I don’t take that (expletive). Not even the greatest closer in the game, Mariano (Rivera), will tell you stuff like that. I’m not a rookie. To intimidate me with the little (expletive) like that? I don’t take that (expletive).”"
And he’s right. Balfour came off as completely classless, in direct opposition with the rest of the A’s, who have been a joy to watch this season, and who really seem like a bunch of guys any sane person would want in their clubhouse. Balfour has been known to be intense his entire career, from the Twins to the Brewers to the Rays to the A’s, but this is bush league, amateur stuff.
Oct 7, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Home plate umpire Gary Darling (37) gets between Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) and Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour (50) in the ninth inning in game three of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at Comerica Park. Oalkand won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Honestly, I hope he just woke up a sleeping giant, because quite honestly the Tigers need it. I won’t say they’re the better team, because that’s what the playoffs are for, but I will say that they have been under-performing at an inexplicable level. Outside of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Jose Alvarez, and Joaquin Benoit, they’ve looked lost and helpless, and if it takes a psychopath to knock them out of their doldrums, well, I hope it does the job.
It’s a shame a great series might not be remembered for the two talented teams who battled it out, but instead for the raving ass goblin who can only be good if he’s deranged or cheating.
And seriously, dude, you’re giving all your fellow Grants a bad name.