A’s on Brink of ALCS Thanks to Pugilistic Metal-Loving Closer

Longtime readers are well aware that the editor in chief of this magazine is a Phillies lifer, whereas the managing editor (yours truly) is a Mets masochist. This year, both our beloved clubs gobbled bags of dicks, so we’re 100% backing the (yet again) ingeniously assembled Oakland A’s through October. For our annual baseball preview back in May, I was lucky enough to talk to four members of the “most metal bullpen in baseball”: setup man Sean Doolittle, hothead closer Grant Balfour,  Pat Neshek (DFA’d in August, sadly not on the playoff roster) and Travis Blackley (eventually traded to the Astros and then Rangers). Yesterday afternoon, the A’s pushed the juggernaut Detroit Tigers to the brink of elimination in the ALDS, and our main man Balfour inexplicably prompted a bench-clearing shoving match in the ninth. Notorious for swearing on the mound to fire himself up, Grant took exception to Tigers DH Victor Martinez staring him down after a foul ball. This was probably all just a big dumbass misunderstanding, but grown men shouted “fuck you, bitch” at one another (Deadspin has the hilarious audio) before Balfour shut the door, giving the A’s a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
Anyway, if you read our preview, you know that Balfour comes out to the classic bridge to Metallica’s “One.” Or, at least, he does at home; today’s 5:07 p.m. contest is at Comerica Park, so if it’s close in the ninth, Balfour will enter to the sound that greeted every Metallica effort post-Black Album: MASSIVE DERISION. Either way, cheer for the A’s after work and in the interim, enjoy Matt Shelton’s radical Balfour entrance video that’s played when he appears at Oakland’s atrociously named O.co Coliseum.

(photo courtesy of Michael Zagaris)