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Brett Lawrie suspended for four games for his helmet toss

May 16, 2012, 5:08 PM EDT

Bill Mille, Brett Lawrie

Just got the press release from MLB:

Third baseman Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays has received a four-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his aggressive actions toward Umpire Bill Miller, which included throwing his helmet in Miller’s vicinity, during the bottom of the ninth inning of last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre.

And he’s appealing, so he is in the lineup tonight.

Seems a little light to me. You can get five games for simply leaving the bench and doing some ineffectual pushing and shoving during one of those low-octane on-field fights. I would have thought that throwing the helmet and having it — inadvertently or otherwise — hit an umpire would bring more.

Anyway, this would seem to end it so, for posterity:


  1. illadelphiasphinest - May 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    The ump definatly shat his pants!!! Hahahaha. Amazing how fast the Jays Manager got out there, watch the guy comes outa nowhere!!!

  2. proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    4 Games! Obviously MLB thought that the umpire incited Lawrie because of his wrong calls, otherwise it would have been more. Strike 2 was obviously a ball and Lawrie headed to first. Did the ump think that Lawrie was trying to show him up? Probably, because strike 3 was also a ball. Too bad that we will not know if the Umpire was fined.

    • The Common Man - May 16, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      Again, this is a bullshit argument. The umpire’s calls and Lawrie’s reaction are two completely separate issues.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        Wrong. The ump messed up.

      • Lukehart80 - May 16, 2012 at 6:37 PM

        The ump messing up does not excuse Lawrie’s actions. I don’t see how any reasonable adult can argue otherwise.

        And while ntent should be a factor in determining one’s punishment, it doesn’t entirely negate one’s culpability for their actions. If I angrily (or absent-mindly) run through a stop sign and hit a child, my not having intended to run the child over doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a punishment.

    • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 12:19 AM

      Tonight, Sportsnet showed more video of the events leading up to the incident. Pitch 5 was clearly outside and Lawrie began to run to first. This is not unusual as Lawrie always hustles. Miller then called the pitch a strike. Lawrie composed himself and walked back to home. This is where the video gets interesting. Rodney began jawing at Lawrie because he went to first base. Miller then signaled to Rodney to be quiet and pointed to himself indicating that he would take care of Lawrie. A reasonable person viewing the video, has strong reason to believe that Miller had already decided to call the next pitch a strike. Pitch 6 was high and Lawrie once again began to run to first. After the strike 3 call, Miller tossed Lawrie out of the game for questioning balls and strikes calls. Lawrie naturally got angry and threw his helmet at the ground. He did not threaten Miller.

      By the way, the video shown above does not show Lawrie being tossed out of the game because he threw his helmet. He had already been tossed out because he thought that both pitches were balls and had run to first.

      The integrity of the game is at issue here. There is strong circumstantial evidence that Miller thought that Lawrie was trying to show him up and predetermined to call him out on strikes. Miller clearly let his ego get in the way. Both calls were wrong and tossing Lawrie because he ran to first was wrong. Miller should be fined and suspended for his actions.

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 3:05 AM

        The umpire made several mistakes while Lawrie only made one. First of all the ump wrongly called pitch 5 a strike. He wrongly called pitch 6 a strike. He wrongly tossed Lawrie out of the game for arguing balls and strikes. Assuming that because a pitch was high and was ball 4, and consequently starting to run to first base does not constitute arguing balls and strikes. Assuming that Lawrie was trying to show you up because he started to run to first on a pitch that was clearly ball 4 is no reason to toss anyone out of a game.

        Miller had made several mistakes before Lawrie finally lost his temper. Miller was the cause of this commotion and should be the person who is disciplined, not Lawrie.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 8:49 AM

        So let me get this straight….the ump telling the pitcher to stop yapping is evidence that he “decided to call the next pitch a strike”?

        The ump made a wrong call. Happens everyday. Even taking your assumption that the Ump felt shown up and wanted to assert himself – again, happens everyday. It does not change the facts: you throw something, you better gall dang make sure you don’t throw it anywhere near ANYONE or you are going to get suspended

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM

        The ump wrongly tossed Lawrie from the game prior to the helmet throw. The ump made 3 bad calls in a row. If that had happened to you, I doubt that you would be calm and collected.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 8:55 AM

        You can not argue 3rd strikes, it is an automatic suspension. You may not like the rule – I am not crazy about it myself – but it is the rule. Again, happens a lot

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 9:09 AM

        He did not argue. All he did was to start to run to first base because both pitches were out of the strike zone. As there was no verbal element, he did not argue balls and strikes. The umpire abused his authority when he invoked that rule.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 9:13 AM

        Your defense of your player is admirable. But at soempoint you have to face reality – you can not thorw objects

        Guys get ejected fromn games all the time. We are only talking about this one because Lawrie threw his helmut. I don’t think anyone ever agreed with an ejection – everyone has lost there cool when ejected. What made this unique was throwing the helmut. There is no justifcation for it.

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        True. He should not have thrown his helmet. On the other hand the umpire should not have screwed him. If Lawrie is disciplined, MLB should also come down hard on the umpire.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 9:16 AM

        And lets be clear, it was not a long argument, but Lawrie had fully truned around and was saying soemthign prior to the ejection. Wathc the tape.

        You want to say it was a quick hook – fine. As I said, I am not crazy about the “no argue 3rd strike” rule either. But lets be clear, he did argue the 3rd strike and was ejected for that reason. Watch the tape

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 9:42 AM

        The above tape does not show Lawrie being tossed out.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        Check here

        30 second spot, he is turned around saying soemthing, takes one step and get a hook. It was a quick hook, no debate there

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 10:39 AM

        Interesting, but we have no idea of what was said by either person. Lawrie was right to be upset at the call and the ump was wrong to toss him because the ump made 2 bad calls in a row.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        We may not know what Lawrie said, but it is evident that it was along the lines of “Good sir, I believe you hath mistaken yourself”. Or something like that.

        You get ejected for arguing 3rd strike. I don’t like the rule either, but that is the rule.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        Sorry, meant automatic ejection, not suspension

  3. El Bravo - May 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Please appeal.

    • El Bravo - May 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      oh he is. sweet. carry on.

  4. mybrunoblog - May 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    I think he got off easy. 8 or 9’games seems to fit better for me. Besides, He’ll probably appeal it and have it reduced.

  5. nagrommit - May 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    That’s got to be 25 games in Canada due to some weird Canadian exchange rate, right?

    • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Obviously, you have not checked the exchange rate lately.

    • kopy - May 16, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      Which also makes one wonder which currency his “undisclosed fine” was in. Maybe he can wait until the US Dollar weakens compared to the Canadian variety to pay.

    • hiltonandastoria - May 16, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      3.9 games

    • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 8:52 AM

      It is 7 games using the Metric system, but as long as the games he sits out are played in the U.S., Lawrie only needs to miss 4

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    But he appeals it, takes it over the all-star break and somehow doesn’t miss a game.

    I know the math does not work that way, but the way MLB allows players to appeal, then drop the appeal in order to ‘schedule’ their suspensions seems silly. Perhaps the penalty should double if a player appeals but does not provide new insight in his favor.

  7. The Common Man - May 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Way, way, way too light. Looking at the video again, it seems clear to me that he’s spiking it at Miller’s feet to startle him/get his attention, not just throwing it in frustration.

    • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      Miller started it.

      • Kevin S. - May 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        If your argument is that Miller started it by blowing the strike calls, you’re as off base as Lawrie was. No blown call in any way, shape or form justifies that kind of reacting. “Starting it” is what the umpire who set Milton Bradley off the time he blew his ACL did.

      • The Common Man - May 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        Miller missed calls. That’s not “starting it” any more than accidentally spilling someone’s drink is asking to get punched in the face by some overreacting asshole at a bar. And even if Miller had “started it,” Lawrie threw his helmet at him intentionally and with malice. He may not have meant to hit him, but he did try to throw it at him.

      • The Baseball Idiot - May 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM

        Let it go. A bad call on a thrown pitch does not justify having a helmet thrown at the umpire.

        Your insistence in justifying violence is pathetic.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        There were 2 bad calls in a row. The second appeared to because the ump thought that Lawrie had shown him up. Joe Torre admitted that Lawrie did not throw his helmet at the ump. If the ump had not screwed up and screwed Lawrie this event would never have happened. 4 games was a wrist slap because MLB knew that it was the umps fault.

    • 32bigg - May 16, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      Baseball idiot, you call that violence? Sounds like you were as scared as that ump just watching on tv.

      • The Baseball Idiot - May 16, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        Yeah, just like all those years I spent in combat while in the Army, working as a bouncer in bars in several countries, and doing concert and sporting event security.

        I’m just a big fucking coward.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

        Agreed on something.

  8. El Bravo - May 16, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Okay, how exactly is this worse than what Cole did? This suspension is just fine.

    • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      The suspension is fine? Then why do you want him to appeal?

      El Bravo – May 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM
      Please appeal.

      El Bravo – May 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM
      oh he is. sweet. carry on.

      • El Bravo - May 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        Fantasy purposes. That said, I don’t have to explain myself to no steeeeenking Pheeelies phan.

  9. l0yalr0yal - May 16, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Any seasoned lip readers out there that can tell me what the umpire says? I’m no expert, but I counted three F-bombs.

    • The Common Man - May 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      I’m sure he did. I don’t condone it, but I’m sure it was a bit startling.

    • dustiebottums - May 16, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      “the f* !? You f*n insane f*”

      • l0yalr0yal - May 16, 2012 at 5:45 PM

        I’m going to give it a shot, because I’ve been reviewing the tapes on company time. Over, and over, and over.

        “F$$$! GET YOUR F$$$$$$ ASS OUT, F$$$!”

  10. sasquash20 - May 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    I think 4 games is too much. 2 games is more like it. He clearly was slamming it down to the ground.

  11. The Baseball Idiot - May 16, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Delmon Young should immediately file a complaint with the union.

    And use the race card, which is not something I thought I would ever say.

    Black guy gets 50 games, and the white guy gets 4? Bull shit.

    And for all of you who want to spout that Young was in the minors, read up on the National Agreement and learn something about baseball.

    It is the same thing.

  12. schlom - May 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    To all the people saying that Miller started all this by missing calls, take a look at the pitch plot:

    Pitch #4 called a ball, while #5 and #6 were called strikes. Obviously #5 was a bad call but he may have gotten a call on pitch #4 but the strikeout pitch is not nearly as bad as people are saying. I honestly don’t see how anyone can claim that Lawrie was totally screwed by Miller in this at-bat.

    • spindervish - May 16, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      It’s not really that many people. It’s basically just one shameless homer with a ridiculous blind spot.

    • delawarephilliesfan - May 17, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      You didn’t expect a well reasoned argument to get you anywhere, did you 😉

  13. themightyquinn1 - May 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Wow, that Lawrie showed himself as one inmature spoiled brat. Get used to bad calls, you turkey, especially if you taunt the ump with a 1st base trot before the call! Bring that kind of crud on with the wrong guy and you’ll be getting your pegs lowered, that’s for sure.

  14. ugglasforearms - May 16, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    I saw this from Lawrie at

    “It’s just my passion for the game. I wanted to help my teammates out as best I could.”

    • ugglasforearms - May 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      I’m trying to figure out how getting suspended for 4 games is helping his teammates.

  15. worldchampsbaby - May 16, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I am not excusing violence,but it’s very clear that the ump needs to be fired.To call those two pitches strikes he either is blind and should be fired or he had a vendetta against Lawrie.There is no place in baseball for arbitrary calls based on the umpires mood. MLB has allowed the umps absolute power to make calls with no immediate reprecussions and I for one commend Lawrie for making a stand.Hopefully the people in power will see a change MUST be made.

    BTW I am a Yankee fan not a Blue Jay fan.

    • schlom - May 16, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      Fired because he missed one pitch? That seems kind of excessive.

      • proudlycanadian - May 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

        Two missed calls in a row. The first missed call was incompetence. The second one was probably deliberate.

  16. atlca - May 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    I think the issue is both parties need to be suspended. Certainly you can’t throw anything in the direction of an umpire. And for that he should be punished. And some say it should have been longer. But when you give pitcher’s a 5 day (1 game suspension) for intentionally throwing a ball at a player, the 4 game suspension seems reasonable as the helmet had no chance of seriously hurting anyone compared to throwing a ball at someone’s head. But these umpires make really bad calls time and time again and still have a job year after year. Somewhere you have to be able to suspend umpires and send them for retraining if they are missing calls. These were not “bang-bang” plays. They were obviously not strikes. I do not respect umpires anymore because they too often are trying to become part of the show and have let their egos get in the way of doing what is right and fair. I can see why the players may not have much respect for them. Baseball needs to clean up its’ officiating.

    • schlom - May 16, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      The problem is that other than the fifth pitch you’d have a hard time convincing anyone (except for a Blue Jays fan) that the sixth pitch was called a strike for any other reason than the umpire thought it was a strike.

      It seems that the common view is that the umpire was upset that Lawrie showed him up by running towards first base on the previous pitch so he was calling the next pitch a strike. However if you look at the pitch/fx data the pitch looks close enough to the strikezone that it’s not a particularly bad call. I guess most people think the pitch/fx is wrong?

  17. worldchampsbaby - May 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    No,Fired because he became the show.The ballplayers are the show.He thought he was being shown up on the 1st bad call and his SPITE took over on the second bad call. He let his desire for absolute power effect his BASEBALL JOB OF CALLING A FAIR AND ACCURATE GAME. There is no place in the game for that behavior.

    • The Baseball Idiot - May 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      I”m going to have to change my username. Too many people here trying to bogart it.

      • worldchampsbaby - May 16, 2012 at 7:14 PM

        NO you are the idiot

  18. charlutes - May 16, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    I like this blog before I realized its mostly about being judgmental. Hater baseball talk.

  19. craigmaitland - May 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Please post a gif of the strike call. That wouldn’t have been called a strike in slow pitch. It was clearly an intentional screw job by the umpire that shouldn’t be tolerated either.

  20. rcali - May 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Roid Rage?

  21. dafc0n - May 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Hey Lawrie, Next time stay in the batters box and let the ump make the call, there ain’t an ump in the league who’s gonna let you take control of the game by you heading to first before he calls the pitch. You’re in for a rough season too, cause umps stick togethor, and thy’re gonna teach you a lesson, from now on anything thats within a foot of the plate is gonna be a strike, the only way you’re gonna get a walk is if you get hit by a pitch, better grow up in a hurry!

    • worldchampsbaby - May 17, 2012 at 10:57 AM


      You just said it umps stick together,he’ll never see a walk.That is what is wrong with giving umps absolute power.They do what they want without being held accountable.Call the freakin game HONESTLY and since you are older and supposedly more mature don’t react when you PERCEIVE you are being shown up.Another words do your job nothing more.

  22. boltfansmith - May 17, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Did the ump have pics of his wife in the nude?

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