By James Nahikian
Brett Lawrie has been suspended for four games for his blowup during Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He also has been fined for what Major League Baseball is calling, “aggressive actions toward (Home Plate) umpire Bill Miller.”
Heading into the bottom of the 9th inning, Toronto trailed 4-3. After an out to start the inning, the 22 year old Lawrie stepped up to the plate. He worked himself into a nice count of three balls and one strike when Rays’ pitcher Fernando Rodney threw him a fastball. Lawrie, having thought that the pitch was outside, started to make his way towards first base. That was until Bill Miller called a strike, forcing Lawrie to come back to the plate, now in a full count (Three balls, two strikes). After replay, the 3-1 pitch was clearly well off the plate. The following pitch seemed to be high and outside, so Lawrie yet again started to head towards first base. He only made it a couple of steps before Bill Miller called strike three. This is where the story gets interesting, and in Lawrie’s defense, this pitch was well off the plate too. The Blue Jays’ third baseman was now heated. He turned back immediately, started to scream and threw his helmet to the ground. That helmet then went on to hit Bill Miller. And if you know anything about sports, if a player or his equipment makes any kind of contact with an official, that athlete is in some serious trouble. Lawrie was then tossed from the game. The Blue Jays’ manager, John Farrell then rushed in between the two and shortly after, was ejected as well.
Now, what do I make from all of this? First off, Lawrie had every right to be upset. It was a one run game in the last inning, and the umpire clearly made two terrible calls that cost him his at bat, as well as cost his team a chance to win the game. However, that does not mean that what Lawrie did after was right. He should have indeed been kicked out of the game. You cannot disrespect an umpire to that extent, and you certainly cannot hit him with a piece of your equipment.
That brings me to my next point, I do not believe that Lawrie meant to hit the umpire with his helmet. He threw it on the ground with force, and it carried on and hit Bill Miller. He was very upset, and I don’t think he was thinking enough to realize or care where his helmet ended up. The fact is, if he actually wanted to hit Miller, he would have just throw the helmet directly at him. It was just very unfortunate for himself that it did, because it made the situation look ten times worse and it probably lead to a more severe suspension and fine. Lawrie is now appealing that suspension, and he played in his team’s 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees last night.
I am a big fan of Brett Lawrie. Not only because I own his $400+ autograph baseball card, but because he plays the game hard. He plays with a lot of passion, he loves the sport, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. However in this case, his emotions got the best of him. That is just who Lawrie is, there is a fire inside of him. The same fire that will make him one of the best third baseman in Major League Baseball.
WATCH AND READ Yahoo Sports’ story on the incident, where you can also watch the video of Lawrie’s ejection. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/brett-lawrie-receives-four-game-suspension-fined-aggressive-212945176.html
James Nahikian blogs about the industry of sports. And specializes in articles about the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball and Bowling Green State University Athletics. Email him at email@example.com And follow him on twitter @KingNahikian or facebook where you can find links to his articles and updates about future posts.