ST. PETERSBURG -- Ozzie Guillen has shown his fiery side as White Sox manager too many times to count over the years. Grant Balfour showed his fiery side as a Rays reliever to a national audience Thursday in Game 1 of their American League Division Series.
Don't expect Guillen to take issue with that just because it was directed at one of his players. In fact, Guillen felt quite the opposite.
"I love it," Guillen said during his press conference prior to Game 2 Friday. "That's my style."
Balfour and White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera provided the early symbol for the series on Thursday during their memorable seventh-inning showdown with the bases loaded and two outs in what was then a 6-3 game. After Balfour's first-pitch ball sailed outside, Cabrera kicked the dirt in front of home plate and challenged Balfour to throw strikes.
Balfour went at him from there with fastballs, eventually striking out Cabrera, who swung at and missed a 2-2 heater. Balfour pumped his first on the way off the mound and told Cabrera to sit down, and the two exchanged words again.
Afterward, Balfour explained his highly charged personality on the mound. The often outspoken Guillen appreciates it.
"I mean, I think he's great for baseball," Guillen continued. "I think he shows people he wants to win. He shows people the enthusiasm of the game, the passion of the game. I don't have any problem with that. That's the way he is. I tip my hat to him, and people have to respect that.
"He's not hurting anybody. He just shows people he wants to be there."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.