Konerko's pinch-hit walk against Rays closer Grant Balfour helped set up Abreu's game-ending blast. As Konerko jogged towards first, Balfour started yelling. Konerko said he wasn't sure if the yelling was directed toward him, so he felt he had to respond and started jawing back at Balfour, who claimed after the game he was yelling at himself.
"I'm angry at myself, so if he wants to yell at me, whatever," Balfour said Friday night, after blowing the save. "I wasn't yelling at him. I was frustrated because I missed by six feet there. He's been playing a long time and so have I. I respect everything he's done. But to think that I was yelling at him? Why? If he's trying to get under my skin, usually it doesn't work out. Tonight it did for him."
Said Konerko, "I've got a lot of years under my belt in professional baseball. I've never been on the field one time trying to get under someone's skin. We're all out here, professionals. I don't play that game. I think it's everybody does your best and you don't try to get somebody off their game with that kind of stuff. So that's not the way I operate. I think that's pretty apparent that I've never operated [that way]."
Konerko wouldn't elaborate on what he said back to Balfour, but in the end, it seemed like a simple misunderstanding. Balfour has a reputation for being animated on the mound, which Konerko said he doesn't mind.
"Whatever, that's his thing. No opinion on that," Konerko said. "But after the at-bat concluded it was just another man in my general area yelling towards me, or I don't know if it was directly towards me but it was, it sounded like it, was so I just wanted to find out if it was. I don't think it was.
"When I looked at him and said what I said I don't think it was that, but he's got to understand that if he's going to yell that close to people, you're going to get a guy every now and again that's going to ask why or take exception to it."
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less