The bad blood between the Royals and the Yankees took a day to surface but it's boiling now with more to come.
"I don't start any fights," said Reggie Jackson, "but I stop a lot of them. If them want to fight I'll be thrilled."
Jackson is 210 pounds of muscle and muscle and more muscle. He has been known to hit baseballs 500 feet and baseball players almost as far.
"I don't like any of that kind of stuff because it affects my play," he said. "I don't care what they do. Let them do their own thing and I'll do mine. I don't care if pitchers knock me down a thousand times as long as they don't hit me once."
The Royals beat the Yankees 10-4 in the second game of the American League championship series and the scene shifts to New York for Friday's third game, even at one each with Catfish Hunter set against Paul Splitorff.
"Now we are going home with our fans rooting for us," said Lou Piniella.
The Royal fans were excited as could be, waving handkerchiefs and cheering on their favorites, especially after Willie Wilson and Thurman Munson collided on a play at the plate. Munson came out of it with bruised feelings and a cut chin. Wilson was out but it livened the festivities.
Gary Thomasson also had been leaned back by Al Hrabosky, causing more animosity. This has become as important a factor in this series as good defense.
"I haven't been to the plate in two weeks," said Thomasson, used mostly as a pinch hitter, "and he throws at me. That's all part of his act but he can't scare me."
Thomasson grounded out after the tight pitch but there was some more staring as first baseman Pete LaCock ran close to the Yankee outfielder in tagging the bag.
The history of the playoff series between these two teams indicates some field fight will take place before it is over. The Yankees and Royals were two for two in this department in 1976 and 1977.
Graig Nettles and George Brett had a beauty and Hal McRae cleaned out Willie Randolph at second base last year.
"Hard sliding is part of baseball," said Jackson, one of the most notorious of baseball sliders. McRae is regarded by many observers as the hardest slider. "What I don't like is somebody trying to hurt somebody."
As flat as the Royals were Tuesday night, that's how flat the Yankees were yesterday.
"Maybe there just is something about our team that we can't play our best except when we are in a pinch," said Jackson.