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Brett Lawrie freaks out, throws helmet at ump

May 16, 2012, 8:22 AM EDT

Hey Brett Lawrie, what did you think of that called third strike?


Oh. Really?

Yeah, I’m guessing you’re going to get suspended, son.

Yes, the ump made two bad calls during that at bat — check out the plots of pitches 5 and 6 here — but worse calls are made every day and that’s no excuse for erupting like that. The helmet throw was just disciplinary icing on a temper tantrum cake that MLB  is not going to take kindly to.  Here’s umpire Bill Miller’s statement:

“Upon seeing that he was ejected, he took several steps toward me and fired his helmet. It hit me in the right hip. That’s a bit extreme.”

For his part, Lawrie said he didn’t mean it:

“That was not my intention at all,” Lawrie said of striking Miller with his helmet. “I’ve never, ever, done anything to go at an umpire before in my life, and I didn’t mean to tonight. I apologize for that. It just kind of took an unlucky bounce and I think it got him, so my apologies for that.”

Not that I think that, or the fact that he was arguing bad call, will or should help him here.  Gotta keep your cool better than that.

Oh, and one Blue Jays fan was pretty classy too:

… a disgruntled fan in the stands at Rogers Centre tossed a mostly full cup of beer and hit Miller in the right shoulder as he walked off the field.

Oh, Canada.

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Horse Buckets Craig! The ump screwed up and gets off scott free. He should be the person apologizing.

    • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      In both cases, the ump made his call late and Lawrie thinking that he had ball 4 was on his way to first. Furthermore, Lawrie did not throw his helmet at the up. He threw it in front of him and it bounced up and hit him.

      • The Common Man - May 16, 2012 at 8:31 AM

        Regardless of whether the umpire got the call wrong or not, regardless of how bad umpires in general have become, there is absolutely no excuse for Brett Lawrie’s reaction. I’ve got to imagine a fairly long suspension is coming. 10 games, at least. And it will be well-deserved.

      • mybrunoblog - May 16, 2012 at 8:34 AM

        Hitting the ump by accident is a pretty poor excuse. Lawrie is responsible for where the helmet lands after he throws it. Just saying ” I didn’t mean to hit the umpire” does not erase the fact that it did hit the umpire.
        I agree the ump made some bad calls but it cannot be used as an excuse for Lawrie childish behavior.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 8:37 AM

        Is the umpire ever going to man up and admit that he screwed Lawrie?

      • myopinionisrighterthanyours - May 16, 2012 at 8:40 AM

        Will you stop with this late call crap? Watch the replay. It was Lawrie racing out of the box that made the call look late. As Lawrie broke for first on the 5th pitch (the one that was a bad call, I’ll grant you), Miller was in his strike motion already. Wait for the big guy to grant you the base, first, son.

      • The Common Man - May 16, 2012 at 8:41 AM

        The umpire used his judgment, and he got a call wrong. But there are any number of bad strike calls on any given night. Should an umpire have to apologize for all of them? And even if he doesn’t, why should we excuse Lawrie in the least given that he’s the only player who can’t keep from firing his helmet at the feet of the ump in question?

      • hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 8:50 AM

        I don’t know about late, but pitch 6, which was strike 3, was not a terrible call. Yes it was slightly outside of the zone but I’m guessing you couldn’t discern such a small distance in real time. Pitch 5 was a bad call, but last I checked, something not going your way is not an excuse to act like a shithead. I don’t think Miller was being confrontational like a Bob Davidson, Lawrie was acting like an ass.

      • 32bigg - May 16, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        Hasbeen5, if the distance is too small to discern, then why is a human making that judgment? Either a computer, which can discern such a small difference, needs to make the call, or a human who has the ability to discern such a small distance should take that joke of an umpire’s job.

      • hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 9:11 AM

        I’m not one to praise the “human element” of bad calls. I’m simply saying that his reaction was extremely inappropriate. I’m fine with robots calling balls and strikes.

      • bbil2012 - May 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM

        Damn umpire got in the helmets way too. Another apology due!

      • bobdira - May 16, 2012 at 9:49 AM

        I didn’t mean to shoot my wife, the bullet just kinda went through her bitching head officer.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        You are off topic with your fantasy (I hope) about shooting your wife.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - May 16, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      No, he shouldn’t.

    • bobdira - May 16, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      Hey dipshit. pitch 6 was a strike on the plot. “any part of the plate touched by the ball” and so was pitch 6. So roider got a break on pitch 4 that was called a balll and got pay back on 5 that was called a strike.

      Unwritten rule #453……don’t leave your at bat in the hands (or eyes) of an umpire. it won’t turn out well.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 9:49 AM

        Horse Buckets!

    • paul1990 - May 16, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      No player got screwed and the calls, although borderline balls, are part of the game. Sorry, but umpires aren’t any different than they were 10 years ago. Now we have the TV, etc, putting more graphics and stuff up. I loathe people for blaming officials for things not going right. They don’t make boot ground balls, they don’t swing and miss, they don’t get caught stealing, they don’t miss signs…a lot of things happen in a game. Lay off them.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM

        Actually the umps have improved. A lot of bad ones were dumped after the strike. The silly fools resigned. Unfortunately too many egregious errors are still made and MLB and the Umpires refuse to make public any reprimands received by the umps. Both MLB and the umpires have to come clean when they screw up.

  2. mybrunoblog - May 16, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Temper temper Mr. Lawrie. Enjoy your break we will see you in about ten games. Oh and please have that check your going to write to MLB in the mail by the end of the business day tomorrow.

  3. Francisco (FC) - May 16, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    If the Umpires were held accountable in a clear and transparent manner a lot of this stuff might go away because the player would shrug it off secure in the knowledge that this particular Jerk might be actually be disciplined for his bad calling. As it is…

    Still no excuse Lawrie, you gotta keep your cool. Let the Manager do the complaining, he’s the most expendable guy that can be ejected in a game. Let your boss make your point.

  4. hojo20 - May 16, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    You mad Bro?

  5. JB (the original) - May 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Can anybody read Miller’s lips there?

    • dustiebottums - May 16, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      “the f* !? You f*n insane f*”

      • hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        Pretty appropriate reaction I think. Cowboy Joe would have pulled out his 6-shooter and ended him

  6. broomehandle - May 16, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    I would have done the same thing, these umps are the best of the best and they call strikes when they are way out of the strike zone, now thats a joke

    • The Common Man - May 16, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      Then you would be suspended. And rightfully so. The fact that you’re proud of it doesn’t speak well of you.

  7. Jonny 5 - May 16, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    I noticed many times this season that if a batter runs off before the call is made (umpire more than likely thinking about what to call because it was borderline) The call seems to go against the batter. It’s as if the Ump is saying, “Oh yeah smartass, wait for my call.” Regardless Lawrie blew his stack and should pay the price.

  8. dustiebottums - May 16, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Roid Rage much? Give that man a cup and test his urine….

  9. hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Nobody has mentioned the fan yet either. There is no friggin excuse for fans to throw anything onto the field. No, a beer can’t do much damage, but players and umpires are totally defenseless and don’t need to worry about flying objects hitting them. I imagine that if someone threw a beer on that clown when he messed up their order at the drive through, he’d be a little upset.

    • Panda Claus - May 16, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      You have to be pretty mad to just throw $8 onto the ground (or in this case, onto an umpire). So the fan was passionate too.

      Very ironic that an ump named Miller got the Labatt treatment.

      • hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM

        Passion is not an excuse to act like a dick.

  10. 32bigg - May 16, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Firstly, Brett shouldn’t have thrown his helmet anywhere near the umpire. You gotta be able to keep your cool. I’m not worried about it though, he’s 22 and the same intensity that caused him to lose his cool also causes him to make a lot of great plays.

    Secondly, if I’m at home losing my temper at umpires who make bad calls based on malice and ego, then I can only imagine the rage that the players must feel!

    Years ago I would have never entertained the idea, but over the past 2 years I’ve found myself more and more aware of the inconsistency (which is unavoidable to a degree since their is a small degree of randomness in the human nervous system) of umpiring, and worse, the blatant bad calls made to show a player who’s boss.

    So I’m done. I’m ready for balls and strikes to be called by a computer with no ego. The umpires can do other stuff (with replay review, a challenge-type system like the NFL), but they have shown that they are either not competent enough or can not be trusted to keep their egos sufficiently enough in check in order to make the right call at a higher percentage than they have been making them.

    • hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      I’m with you about inconsistency, but t his was not a call to show Lawrie who was boss. Strike 3 was a pretty borderline pitch. Lawrie took it upon himself to call it ball 4 and sprint out of the box, rather than wait for the call. Look at the graph that someone linked if you haven’t already. Strike 2 was a terrible call, strike 3 was not that bad.

      • 32bigg - May 16, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        It was the last two pitches. Pitch 5 was ridiculous, 6 inches maybe. Pitch 6 was closer, but the high strike is so rarely called, that in effect, it wasn’t as close as it seemed.

        The timing also couldn’t have been worse, bottom of the ninth, needing a base runner. Brett earned that walk, and the team earned a shot at driving him in to tie up the game. But the ump took the bat out his hands.

        And on pitch 5, either he was trying to show up Brett, or he is completely incompetent and needs to be replaced. The umps d#$% would have firt between the plate and the ball.

      • saucepaws - May 16, 2012 at 9:49 AM

        I think Miller was so angry over Lawrie assuming the called 2nd strike was a ball (and was it ever), that the following pitch was going to be called a strike no matter what.

        It seemed like a clear case of an ump proving a point to a younger player, and that’s what really set Lawrie off. That said, Brett needs to settle down. Losing him for an extended period could really cement the Jays as a .500 team this year.

    • atxjustin - May 16, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      If MLB ever introduces a NFL type challenge system, I stop watching. I’m all for getting the call correct, but it should not enter into the strategy of the game as it has in the NFL.

    • psuravens19 - May 16, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      Balls and strikes being called by a computer; now that’s just stupid and rediculous. Is that same computer going to make a safe/out call at the plate; how about catcher interference, how about a dead ball. I didn’t think so, so lets just get off that topic.

      I do think MLB should implement more instant replay, but calling balls and strikes. I think not.

  11. deathmonkey41 - May 16, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    A Canadian fan threw a beer on the ump? Must have been a fan of Strange Brew. Can anyone account for Cur’s whereabouts, eh?

  12. gorsk7984 - May 16, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Pitch 5 was maybe 5-6 inches off the plate. Pitch 6 was basically on the black. Sure, it was wrong, but Lawrie’s reaction was, oh, just a bit out of proportion…

  13. jdl1325 - May 16, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Is the strike zone plot somehow reversed? Pitch 6 was clearly outside or at best on the black of the outer half, but the plot shows it on the black of the inner half.

    • myopinionisrighterthanyours - May 16, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Pitch 6 had the plate. It was BARELY high. And from what I heard, Miller had been calling high strikes already. Nothing wrong with the plot.

    • hoober27 - May 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      The plot is from the umpire’s perspective

  14. stlouis1baseball - May 16, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Absolutely no excuse for Lawrie blowing up like that. He will get a deserved suspension.
    But he didn’t throw his helmet at the umpire.

    • emoser - May 16, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      No, he just spiked it as hard as he could three inches from the ump’s foot. Clearly no way Lawrie could have guessed that it might hit him…

      • stlouis1baseball - May 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        Exactly Emoser. And apparently Joe Torre feels the same way.

  15. Old Gator - May 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Brett Lawry is simply more proof, as if we needed any, that children are horrible.

  16. packhawk04 - May 16, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    No excuse. I dont care what the umpire did or called. No excuse for that. As for umps “showing players whos boss”, its usually because said player doesnt man up and accept bad calls that happen all the time. He whines like a pissed off 13 year old girl and the umps have enough of it.

  17. paint771 - May 16, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Oh whatever you guys. He blew up at an ump and yelled at him, knowing he’d get tossed and willing to take it to say his peace. He didn’t take a swing at the guy, he didn’t bump chests, he didn’t spit, he didn’t kick sand – he did throw his equipment on the field, which is fine-worthy, but clearly with no intent.

    So eject him, fine him, but let’s not trump it up and get all high and mighty about it. If pitchers can regularly throw at people’s heads and get away with it by lying, I’m not sure why a frustrated batter can’t scream and get himself tossed, or why somehow that’s inexcusable. Give it a tut tut and move on. It’s not like he stabbed the guy.

    Full disclosure though: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a kick out of a good ejection. And the Jays make them count. My favorite was Jon Rauch looking like “Saturn Devouring his Son” with Alfonso Marquez., but this one was pretty good too. Lawrie Mad! Lawrie SMASH!

    Did I just make a Goya reference on HardballTalk?

    • paint771 - May 16, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      Bah, admin close tag? paint 771 sorry. 😦

    • hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      You can argue and make your point without throwing things.

      Y’know, MLB is constantly telling players not to dip or chew because it makes the kids do it. It seems that they would not want kids emulating this kind of stuff either, so I’m fine with a heavy suspension. I mean, kids will obviously notice a guy throwing his helmet more easily than they’ll notice a guy with dip in his lip.

    • 32bigg - May 16, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      Well said. Small suspension maybe, but I enjoyed it.

      And to all the high-and-mighty preachers, just relax, the teenagers will soon be off your lawn.

      LAWRIE SMASH!!!!

  18. samu0034 - May 16, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Honestly, he’d better get damn close to the 50 games that Delmon Young got for throwing his bat at an umpire. The only consideration should be that he wasn’t directly throwing his helmet at the ump, and he (by random chance) didn’t actually hit him with it. He’d better get something in excess of 35 games or there’s something rotten in Denmark.

    • samu0034 - May 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      Oops, it did hit him. Accident or no, this is going to stink of some level of favoritism if he doesn’t get close to the 50 games Delmon got.

      • Kevin S. - May 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM

        Delmon was in the minors, baseball didn’t have to deal with MLBPA with his suspension.

      • samu0034 - May 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        So what if he was in the minors? Much as I’m a supporter of unions, maybe MLB should grow a backbone and go to the wall on this one. And further the MLBPA should recognize the bad behavior of its members and not feel the need to defend every player no matter how stupidly they’ve done. This is absolutely unacceptable behavior. If anyone did an analog this in a “real” job they would be incredibly lucky not to be fired, let alone suspended for a few weeks.

        And, while not particularly germane to this particular comment… Yeah, the call on the 5th pitch was wrong, but it was ~4″ off the plate, and that’s pretty friggin’ far from something so egregious as to engender this kind of behavior on Lawrie’s part. It was NOT 6″ off the plate, learn to read a graph.

      • skids003 - May 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        He can’t get 50 games. Roberto Alomar spit in an umpire’s face and only got 5, and they pushed it back to the next year fo him.

    • samu0034 - May 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Okay, all you people thumbing me down; are you absolving Lawrie of his behavior because of the bad call? Are you saying that Delmon’s suspension was excessive? Are you saying that it’s not that big a deal? Justify yourselves.

  19. randygnyc - May 16, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Roid rage?

    • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      You were right when you wrote that you can be a jerk at times.

  20. jason9696 - May 16, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    The third strike call was one of the worst pitches that I’ve ever seen called for a strike. But I don’t think the umpire, Bill Miller, liked the fact that Lawrie showed him up the pitch before.

    I love Brett Lawrie’s passion. But he’s going to get suspended for accidentally hitting the umpire with his helmet.

    • hasbeen5 - May 16, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      Again, strike 3 was barely high. Look at the chart.

    • myopinionisrighterthanyours - May 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Yeah, a pitch that had the plate and was an inch above the letters. Horrible call!!!!!! How dare he? Especially if he had already been calling it a stirke all night. Complain all you want about the 5th pitch that was off the plate. But those of you questioning the strike 3 call are absurd.

  21. randygnyc - May 16, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Oh, and Lawrie has a can of tobacco in his back left pocket. As of this year, a serious violation of the rules of conduct. MLB gave a phone number for fans to report on such discoveries. Maybe someone in the commissioners office will read this post. I anticipate an additional fine and suspension.

    • Old Gator - May 16, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      You’re kidding me. They announced a phone number for fans to rat out players? I am not a rat, Inspector Kujan.

      By the way, can you phone in and claim you saw the commissioner drooling on his tie?

  22. randygnyc - May 16, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    If Lawrie can’t be 100% sure where that helmet is going after it hits the ground, he’s got no business throwing it in them direction of an umpire.

  23. hushbrother - May 16, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Those were two rubbish strike calls.

  24. hushbrother - May 16, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Carl Everett got ten games for poking the ump with the bill of his helmet during an argument, so Lawrie will likely get at least that.

  25. randygnyc - May 16, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    In the real world, what Lawrie did was assault (you and I would be charged with a crime). Intentional or not. Maybe Miller should press charges. That would at least get the attention of the players, league wide. 10 games for throwing the equipment. 30 games for the assault. 2 games for the conspicuous tobacco violation. There you go, Bud.

    • myopinionisrighterthanyours - May 16, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      In the real world, what Lawrie did was assault (you and I would be charged with a crime). Intentional or not. Maybe Miller should press charges.


      What Lawrie did was inexcusible, but let’s not get ridiculous here.

    • Charles Gates - May 16, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      Baseball isn’t the real world. By your logic, every HBP would be an assault.

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