Blue Jay Lawrie gets 4-game suspension for hitting umpire with helmet
Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays throws his batting helmet to protest a third strike call by umpire Bill Miller on Tuesday.
May 17th, 2012
06:49 AM ET

Blue Jay Lawrie gets 4-game suspension for hitting umpire with helmet

Major League Baseball has suspended Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie for four games for an outburst Tuesday in which he threw his batting helmet, which bounced off the ground and struck umpire Bill Miller.

In the ninth inning of Tuesday's game in Toronto against the Tampa Bay Rays, Lawrie faced Rays closer Fernando Rodney. With a count of three balls and one strike Lawrie took back-to-back pitches from Rodney. Miller called both strikes, sending Lawrie back to the dugout.

Trouble was, when the third strike was called, Lawrie had already taken two steps toward first base, thinking he had drawn a walk. He spun around, took two steps back in the direction of the umpire and threw his batting helmet to the ground. It bounced up and struck Miller.

Besides the four games, Lawrie was also fined an undisclosed amount, according to a report on MLB.com.

He pledged to appeal the ruling and can remain in the Blue Jays lineup during the appeal process.

"I feel that I have the right to explain my side of the story about what happened last night. I just have to suck it up, appeal it and worry about baseball, worry about playing today and getting a win," he said before Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees, according to MLB.com.

Lawrie said it was not his intention to strike Miller with the helmet, but the helmet took "a bad hop," according to a report in the Toronto Star.

“A lot of people are saying I threw it on purpose, but I didn’t. It was a very frustrating moment in the heat of the game. . . . bad luck,” the Star quotes Lawrie as saying.

Lawrie went to see Miller before Wednesday night's game to apologize, according to the Star report.

He also said the incident would not change his approach to the game.

"You just play the game the way I’ve always played it. I don’t feel I have to change it and the only thing I’d change is throwing (the helmet) near him, because you can get a bad hop,” the Star quoted him as saying.

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soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Anonymous010

    "I feel that I have the right to explain my side of the story about what happened last night."

    Your side? Everybody already saw it. You threw a temper tantrum like a spoiled child, and now you're being punished for that. Case closed. It doesn't matter whether the umpire's call was bad or not. In the game of baseball, their word is law. If you don't like that, appeal to MLB to change the umpire's role in games. Until then, you have to suck it up and take your punishment like an adult and a professional.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JAYS

    Brett Lawrie is a great guys and passonate about baseball. He's the lowest paid on the team and NOT a millionaire like others have suggessted. If you watched the game this is a VERY CLEAR case of an umpire "controlling" the game to his liking. The is very scary as it shows tat baseball lacks integrity. Again, if you watched the game in its entirty or at the least the whole 9th inning you wuld understand that the home plate ump made a point and abused his power. If the ump is not disciplined then we hav a serious concern for this game.
    rett Lawrie throwing his helmet the way he did, yes, not the right thing to do but why does the umpire get to instigate this and walk away free and clear?
    MLB has to come out publically and address the umps intentions to control the game the way he wanted.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      yes..and doesn't he set a fine example for young people.

      May 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      You dont know squat about it, you weren't there.. Nothing you can say can defend his childish behavior

      May 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Lawrie "showed up" the umpire TWICE by immediately heading for first, almost before the ball had even hit the catcher's glove. That, right there, is bush league behavior. 10 bucks and a bag of chips says that if he hadn't done that two times in a row, that he might have actually drawn the walk.

      May 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Excuses, excuses, excuses! He was completely WRONG to throw his helmet., especially in the direction of the umpire. If at 22 he in't man enough to take his punishment maybe he doesn't deserve to make almost $500,000.00 a to play a GAME!!!

      May 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Foster

      Clearly the umpire was at fault. His calls were incorrect. I just hope the sports news can play that at-bat over and over again. There has to be a change to how umpires carry out their work. Replays must now be allowed to a limited amount of course.

      May 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Player

      That is the umpires plate. If the pitcher throws a ball that the ump thinks is a strike well hes going to call it one then! Of course he controlls the game back there but you cant expect him to make every call perfect. He calls the ballas and strikes and its his strikezone. Every player in the game of baseball gets a called third strike they think was a ball but it doesn't mean you should turn to the ump and throw your helmet on the ground. That is wrong and he aplolgized to the ump. It was a freak accident and a mistake on the player. Its all said and done and i think a four game suspension is correct but dont take it out of the guys pay unless hes making millions of dollars each year

      May 18, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ed

    CoolB – I suspect that if you took a poll from professional ballplayers as to whether or not they'd like a "digital umpire" versus a real human being, they'd almost unanimously decide upon the real deal. Techonology is fine in spots, but not at the essence of the game. Yes, you should teach your children that the game is based upon an expectation of fairness, but those same teachings should involve a respect for the game's history and its most basic principles. An Orwell society we are not, and should never be; I'm pretty certain you wouldn't wish that for or teach that to your children. Not to mention, baseball's greatest gift, the reason it is our country's true pasttime, is that it's lessons are directly and undeniably applicable to life itself. Your stance is trendy and buzzword-esque, but it really doesn't fix anything; in fact, it does more damage to what baseball has built through the years. And Lawrie went way outside the lines, technology or not.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick

    I am a Red Sox fan and watched the end of that game. I don't think he intended to hit the ump with the helmet but the suspension is necessary. You just can't do that.....accident or not. Lots of athletes throw their helmets....and never another word is said. If you throw it and it hits somebody else....especially an ump, expect a suspension and/or fine.

    That said....the calls against Lawrie here are atrocious. I really hope the ump is held accountable in some way. he blatantly "may have" affected the outcome of this game

    May 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Get over it bud, it was an athlete getting frustrated at a terrible call. He tossed his helmet and had it bounced left or right and not hit the ump we wouldn't be talking about this issue period.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ricky

    He should be happy with only four games. Intensional or not his helmet hit the ump and that deserves punishment. If it looked intentional he would have been punished accordingly and you can bet that he would be begging for four games. Very childish. As an athlete I understand getting overheated but you are a professional now, act like it.

    Bad calls, controlling the game and power trips from the ump may have played a role but they are seperate and do not justify a player acting like this.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jrh512

    Bottom line. It was too close to take. He is lucky it was only four games.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ricky

    I actually have to believe that he intended to hit the ump. Why else would he power step towards him? Four games is far too light.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. paul johansen

    Helmet took a bad hop. Stupid helmet. I blame Bush.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CoolB

    ED I read the first line and I suspect you have no facts to back up your statement so I stopped reading.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CoolB

    ED – ok I read. WOW tech in sports leads to an Orwell society!! A little dramatic maybe? P.S. I'm not from the US. I love baseball with all my heart but it's not my national sport.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I love when people run out of things to say.

      May 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Beth

    Two separate issues and both need to be addressed. Lawrie should have been suspended for more than 4 – he stepped towards the ump and threw his helmet in his direction – it wasn't a bad hop, it was physics. The ump should also be reprimanded for his performance and either put on notice or moved down to the minor leagues for lack of professionalism.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dana

    It's fair and did he get a hefty fine with the suspension? What if it was a bat he threw?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
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