Rays’ Rearview Mirror: Grant Balfour’s First All-Star Appearance

By Jenna West

Former Rays pitcher, Grant Balfour, made his first All-Star Game appearance this year. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With Matt Moore and Ben Zobrist representing the Rays in the All-Star Game Tuesday night, it was also great to see former Rays’ pitcher Grant Balfour make his first All-Star appearance for the Oakland A’s. In fact, Balfour pitched the sixth inning for the American League, following Moore’s strong outing in the fifth inning.

Although Balfour walked Michael Cuddyer, the first batter he faced, the righty retired the next three hitters, including striking out the powerful Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As fans enjoyed seeing Balfour continue to help the AL hold the NL at no runs, Balfour’s attention was on one teammate: Mariano Rivera, considering Rivera is retiring after this season.

“To see Mariano come in, we were all playing for that,” Balfour told Susan Slusser of SFGate.com. “We were all playing for one guy. It’s a team game, but we all wanted to see that guy go out on a high. Just get it done, get the ball to him. It was great.”

Although Balfour focused on playing for Rivera during the game, he told Slusser that he later reflected on his All-Star experience, thinking, “Wow, I just did that. I can’t believe I went to the All-Star Game. … I would love to do this every year.”