Well that was an interesting little flap that happened during the White Sox-Rays Game 1 tilt. And it came seemingly out of nowhere in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded, two outs and Orlando Cabrera up with the White Sox down three. Reliever Grant Balfour threw a pitch outside for ball one when Cabrera kicked dirt in Balfour's direction, and seemingly told Balfour to throw it where he could hit it.
Why Balfour would do that is beyond me ... but he went all Rick Vaughn on Cabrera's Jack Parkman and threw fastballs at him in a location where Cabrera could hit them. Only Cabrera didn't hit them, he struck out swinging. Balfour let out primal screams, the Rays bench let Cabrera have it, Ozzie Guillen raced out to face trouble, Dave Martinez yelled at Guillen, Willy Aybar chirped at A.J. Pierzynski, and the crowd all grabbed torches in anger and Tropicana Field burned to the ground.
All right, maybe not that last part ...
"They say that he always gets pumped up like that," Cabrera said. "I didn't know that so I just got mad a little bit and I was just pumped up. ... It was just heat of the moment."
Said Balfour: "I fire myself up. That's what I do."
"I haven't changed anything. I'm not going to change," he said.
But it was an odd scene that couldn't be explained right away. The first reaction by Harold Reynolds in the TBS booth was that they had to have a history. But they had only faced each other four times without incident. After the game, Evan Longoria honestly mused that Balfour likes to chirp to batters during at-bats and that the White Sox were probably a little irked.
"Balfour is an intense guy. He's out there on the mound yelling all the time," Longoria said. "I guess Orlando took a little offense to it. That's the way it is in the postseason, emotions run high. We'll get past it."
On the other side, Cabrera is known as being a little intense himself. So what you probably had was two volatile substances placed in the petri dish of the ALDS and a small explosion occurred. Think Mentos and cola.