OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland Athletics reliever Dennis Eckersley was so disturbed by Jack Morris' criticism of his celebration act, he confronted the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher yesterday before Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
"I said to him, 'What's up?' " Eckersley said after the A's 6-2 victory. "He told me, 'I used to be like that, and I learned.' I said, 'I do what I do to get me going, and that's all it is.'
"They kept saying I taunted them. I said, 'I could sit here and apologize, but I could go out today and say the same thing. I'm not trying to rub it in your face.' I respect Jack for the pitcher that he is, but that's it."
Morris called Eckersley's fist-pumping, finger-pointing performance in Game 4 "Little League," saying, "Old Eck stuck it in our face and gave us reason to be happy as hell we came back."
Yesterday, Eckersley issued his reply.
"Who's Jack? Mr. Etiquette?" he said. "You've got to be kidding me."
The incident that angered the Blue Jays occurred after Eckersley struck out pinch hitter Ed Sprague to escape the eighth inning of Game 4 with a 6-4 lead. The Jays rallied in the ninth with a game-tying, two-run homer by Roberto Alomar, and won, 7-6, in 11 innings.
Morris, the Toronto starter, lasted only 3 1/3 innings in that game, prompting Eckersley to say: "If I pitched a game like Jack had pitched and gotten off the hook, I wouldn't have said anything.
"It bothered me. I guess Jack was trying to teach me something, because he knows more than I do. I didn't really appreciate it."