Tigers relief pitcher Al Alburquerque angered some Oakland A’s by kissing the baseball after inducing a ground out during Game 2 of the ALDS on Sunday.
Alburquerque relieved Phil Coke in the 9th and got A’s slugger Yoenis Cespedes to ground out with men on first and third to end the inning. After the ball was hit back to him, he took a few steps toward first before kissing the ball. He then gave an underhand toss to first baseman Prince Fielder for the inning-ending out.
Some A’s apparently viewed Alburquerque’s actions as disrespectful.
“It did get under my skin,” outfielder Josh Reddick said, according to Casey Pratt. “We didn’t appreciate that. I thought it was immature and not very professional. You don’t do that on the field. Save it for the dugout.”
“He must not believe in baseball gods. Baseball gods take care of that stuff,” said A’s DH Jonny Gomes, per Bob Nightengale.
Alburquerque said after the game that it was just a spur-of-the moment reaction.
“It’s the emotions of the game,” he said, via MLive.com. “You win, you feel happy. If you do something good, you feel happy, too. Everybody’s got different emotions. It’s part of the emotions for me.”
Fielder didn’t mind the kiss at all, and in fact called it “the coolest thing” he’d ever seen.
The Tigers scored in the bottom half of the inning on a Don Kelly RBI sac fly to win the game 5-4, making Alburquerque the winning pitcher.
Though he had reason to be pumped after getting a big out in the inning, it’s hard to view Alburquerque’s actions as anything other than disrespectful. It would be one thing if simply kissed the ball as if to say “thank you” to it, but he was staring at the A’s dugout when he did it, as if he were trying to stick it to him. He may have gotten the last word on Sunday, but like Gomes says, the baseball gods usually correct these sorts of disrespectful acts.
GIF via World of Isaac/GuyismGoogle+