Grant Balfour has met his match. Wife Angie Balfour not only shares the Oakland A’s relief pitcher’s hard-bodied physique, but also his love of baseball and passion for philanthropy.
By her own admission, the fiercely fit mom of two is “obsessed with fitness.” And it shows. Her rock-star figure can only be achieved with a serious workout routine. Balfour explains, “I love to run and to take rides on the spin bike. I take fitness classes like Insanity, or a mixture of Crossfit and Insanity. I try and do stuff every single day.”
This past summer, after a little convincing from a fellow A’s wife, the 33-year-old even enjoyed a brief stint in the world of fitness competitions, winning one of her divisions and coming in second in a few others. “I did it with just three weeks of training. I think my husband was amazed,” Balfour says proudly.
Despite her newly competitive spirit, she and Grant aren’t one of those couples that sweat it out together at the gym. “He does his own thing, especially during the season and I do my own thing. Sometimes we’ll crisscross and do some stuff together, but not a ton,” she notes, revealing that she continued to run up until the day she gave birth to her daughters.
It was her love of fitness and affinity for philanthropy that prompted Balfour to come up with the idea for the “Miles for Smiles” event in conjunction with the charitable organization Smile Train, which provides free cleft surgeries and comprehensive care to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries.
Balfour knew she wanted to get involved with the charity, but the timing had to be right. A simple moment with her girls gave her the push to reach out. “They always seem to have these genuine, honest smiles. So I thought, ‘This is the time to make an impact on someone’s life, when they’re so innocent’. So I Googled Smile Train and sent them a letter saying I’d love to get involved,” she recalls.
Within days of contacting the charity this past spring, Balfour was making plans for a fundraising event to be staged at the July 26th A’s home game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. “I thought the name ‘Miles for Smiles’ had a nice ring to it. It was a way that we could get all of the girls involved, plus I could combine things that I was passionate about – kids, helping out and working out. So it was great!” Balfour says.
“Miles For Smiles combines things I’m passionate about – kids, helping out and working out!”
She rallied the A’s wives and girlfriends for a marathon relay treadmill run adjacent to left field. For the duration of the game, each mile ran was matched with a donation for Smile Train, which raised $23,400.
Her husband also supported the cause in that he engaged in an autograph session prior to the game for 100 fans. Says Balfour, “Now when he sees Smile Train in promotions they have, he’ll take a picture with his phone and show it to me and say, “Hey, this is who we’re working with and what we’re doing!’”
While she will continue to support the organization in the future, for now she is focused on daughters Raegan and Rielyn while rooting for her husband, whom she fell in love with back in 2005 when he walked into the Cincinnati doctor’s office where she worked with an injury, on and off the field.
Though the couple is now based in Concord, Calif., part of being a supportive partner is following her husband wherever he may go. At press time, his two-year contract with the A’s had not been renewed, though he has continued to draw interest from a plethora of other teams including the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers.
When asked about the potential of staying in Oakland, Balfour replies, “I’m not sure at this point where my husband will be next year.” Regardless of where she is, one thing is for certain: Angie Balfour will be a giving back until the very end, and she’ll be doing it with a smile.