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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brown: Umpire hit with Brett Lawrie’s helmet, full beer cup at Blue Jays game

Kinder Labatt. Doubtful.

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Brett Lawrie apologized later for his tantrum, and he seemed to mean it, but video of him slamming his batting helmet to the ground and it hitting umpire Bill Miller in the right hip is incriminating. Lawrie deserves a long suspension, and one is likely.

Adding to the miserable ending of Miller’s night, 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. No matter how poorly Miller might have called the final two pitches of Lawrie’s at-bat — strike two appeared to catch even less of the zone than strike three — he doesn’t deserve either reaction.

...Getting thrown out of a one-run game (Toronto lost to the Rays 4-3) and incurring a suspension from the league helps the Blue Jays, how, exactly? And since when is it cool to lose your cool? Lawrie sure didn’t make it look like an accident when he stepped toward the umpire and threw down his helmet. Lawrie completely obliterated his own point — getting balls and strikes called correctly — by throwing a fit (and some equipment).

Repoz Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:52 AM | 102 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays

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   1. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: May 16, 2012 at 06:18 AM (#4132576)
''Upon seeing that he was ejected, he took several steps toward me and fired his helmet. It hit me in the right hip,'' Miller said.

''That's a bit extreme,'' Miller said.


Umm...Lawrie certainly slammed the helmet. Straight down. Hitting the umpire on the bounce was an unintended consequence. He shouldn't have done it, but there was no intent to hit Miller.

Also, when Farrell came out to argue, he got a little carried away on one of his "P"'s and Miller had to wipe his face because of it. I'm wondering if there's going to be a suspension for spitting on the umpire (which was about as intentional as the helmet bouncing up and hitting Miller).

And I thought the 3-2 pitch was both high and outside.

EDIT: I'm not defending Lawrie. He did go a bit ape-#### and should catch a small suspension. The tone of the article is a lot more severe than the incident warrants.


   2. DKDC Posted: May 16, 2012 at 07:36 AM (#4132589)
Umm...Lawrie certainly slammed the helmet. Straight down. Hitting the umpire on the bounce was an unintended consequence. He shouldn't have done it, but there was no intent to hit Miller.


Maybe there was no intent. Hopefully there was no intent. But Lawrie was staring right at the umpire when he did it and then continued to approach him while screaming and gesticulating.

At a minimum he was intending (and was successful judging by Miller's expression) to cause fear of harm, which crosses the line into assault.

I think he should get less than Delmon's bat throw (50 games) but more than your typical incidental umpire bump (3-5 games?).

And he should of course stop using steroids before he gets caught.
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 07:50 AM (#4132594)
i will repeat what i wrote last night elsewhere

lawrie had reason to be ticked. bad call(s)

lawrie looked like an idiot with hopping and gesturing

lawrie appeared threatening when he charged the umpire

lawrie was out of control when he threw the helmet

i like the lad but that's 7 games give or take. you cannot act out in that fashion
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2012 at 07:58 AM (#4132596)
Looked to me like he just threw the helmet at the ground in frustration, at most to get Miller's attention, and the fact that it bounced up and hit Miller was incidental and not intentional. I'm not even sure I'd suspend him at all, or for 1 or 2 days at most.

OTOH the pitch you see on the replay wasn't that bad a call to begin with. Seemed like a well thrown backdoor pitch that tailed onto the upper outside corner of the strike zone, or at worst and inch or so outside it.
   5. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4132598)

It seems pretty obvious that the strike was only called a strike as retaliation for Lawrie starting to walk to first on the previous pitch (which was also a clear ball). I'd like to see Miller also get suspended.
   6. I am going to be Frank Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:06 AM (#4132599)
I'm sure he wasn't trying to hit the ump but he was pretty close to the ump when he threw the helmet straight down right in front of the ump in more or less a straight line.
   7. Hack Wilson Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:07 AM (#4132600)
I'm pretty sure Lawrie can successfully argue that he had to throw off his helmet because a stinging insect got inside-the bee in the bonnet defense.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:08 AM (#4132602)
andy

i don't think anybody is claiming lawrie was trying to hit the ump with the helmet

jumping around like a jackrabbit, charging, and then throwing in his direction are all acts by themselves worthy of the heave ho

paul

c'mon. stop being a homer.
   9. DKDC Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:14 AM (#4132604)
I'd like to see Miller also get suspended.


That's a good idea. An umpire has never been suspended for a bad ball/strike call, but we should start now because a player threw a tantrum.

I'm all for umpire accountability, but this is a pretty bad place to start. It wasn't even close to the worst ball/strike calls I've seen this season.
   10. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:15 AM (#4132605)
That was the second bad strike call of the inning, if I'm remembering correctly. Having watched the replay it's pretty clearly both high and outside. Hitting the ump with the helmet is clearly unintentional, but you shouldn't be throwing your helmet anyways. Anything more than 3-5 games is, at least to me, overly punitive.

eta: http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/17mrg9hxvgvpljpg/cmt-medium.jpg

Pitches 5 and 6 were both bad calls, and either one would have been ball 4. Lawrie had good reason to be pissed, even if he shouldn't have been chucking his equipment at the ground.
   11. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:16 AM (#4132606)
That's a good idea. An umpire has never been suspended for a bad ball/strike call, but we should start now because a player threw a tantrum.

He shouldn't get suspended for the bad call, he should get suspended because he was clearly only calling a strike as retaliation for being shown up. Watch the pitch before. Watch how long Miller takes to call strikes, then watch how long it took him to call strike 3. Umpires should not make decisions to show up players, and that's pretty obviously what happened here.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:18 AM (#4132608)
joe west has been a jackass for what 20 odd years now and he is not only still working but a crew chief and to many considered the dean of umpires.

   13. Gamingboy Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4132609)
Lawrie might not have intended to hit the ump, but the fact he threw his helmet in the ump's general direction is probably enough to get him a suspension. The fact the ump got hit on a bounce is even more of a reason so.
   14. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:20 AM (#4132612)
angel hernandez has been incompetent since the day he entered the major leagues and he has never been suspended for a level of ineptitude seen only on the benny hill show
   15. Scott Lange Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4132614)
If I'm not misreading this PitchFx chart, strike two was a bit off the plate, but strike three was literally on the edge of the strike zone, and not a bad call at all. Why doesn't this match the "FoxTrax" linked above? Are the on-screen strike zones not from the PitchFx data? Which one is reliable? Either?
   16. DEF: hates freedom Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:27 AM (#4132616)
Looking at the video, it seems to me that Lawrie didn't throw his helmet straight down, but rather towards the umpire - I don't think he was trying to hit the umpire, but the angle was more towards the ump than straight down. That's unacceptable, and I'd expect at least a 10 game suspension. Which he deserves, IMHO.
   17. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:28 AM (#4132618)
another way to interpret the sequence of ball/strike calls is that pitch 5 was a makeup to the pitcher for pitch 4 which was borderline and maybe the ump thought he missed pitch 4

anyway, lawrie is going to sit and again my guess is 7 games give or take. 10 reduced to 7 maybe or if he's lucky 7 reduced to 5
   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:32 AM (#4132619)
The call looked horrible. But Lawrie cannot slam the helmet like that, that close to Miller. It's a (low grade) reckless act, and should be punished.
   19. DKDC Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4132620)
I think this is the most reliable. This shows the pitches Miller called all night versus a typical RHH strike zone. The red triangle in the upper right was strike three, and the rightmost red triangle was strike two.

Here’s Miller’s previous game for reference.

Others can draw their own conclusions, but those are both bad calls, but I also think they are both "close enough" given the strike zone Miller calls. He may have been retaliating for Lawrie complaining about the previous call (which is despicable), but there’s really no way to prove that.
   20. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:45 AM (#4132625)
Now I'm curious too about the differences between PitchFX and the FoxTrax. PitchFX definitely makes that last one a borderline strike that you can't just take on a 3-2 count. It looked like a ball from the replay I saw, but then I'm probably even more imperfect an observer than either computer.
   21. Benji Posted: May 16, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4132631)
Too bad Frank Francisco didn't have a helmet to throw Sunday. He would have been suspended too and unlike losing Laurie, losing him would have helped his team.

Harvey's mentioned "The Angel Of Bad Calls" Hernandez. I think he's the worst umpire I ever saw, but Jerry Meals is giving him a run for that distinction.

   22. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4132637)
Just watched it, Lawrie deserves a pretty substantial suspension. I think Harvey's is right, 7 games would be good. I don't think Lawrie meant to hit the ump but he was moving directly towards Miller and slammed the helmet directly at him, it's not like it took some crazy bounce. The helmet bounced right in the direction Lawrie threw it.

Again, I don't think Lawrie meant to hit Miller with it but this is unacceptable and a meaningful suspension would be appropriate.
   23. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4132641)
Looks like Miller calls a wide but not tall strike zone with RHB at the plate. Given his typical zone, his call on strike two (which was wide) seems to fit the pattern, but his call on strike three (which was high) is an aberration.

I haven't really studied the Lawrie AB, but up in Post 11, Paul suggests that the called strike three was a punishment for being shown up. I don't know if Paul's right, but it would explain why Miller's zone changed so suddenly.
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4132652)
before he lost his job as part of the strike debacle ken kaiser was the worst possible combination of umpire traits

lazy, arrogant, careless

he didn't refuse to hustle because he couldn't hustle. he was a fat tub who didn't even try to get in the right position to make a call. he would anticipate plays and call guys out and even if things changed like a guy dropping the ball he would still stick with his call. he initiated all kinds of arguements thanks to his sloppy work but would first ignore players/managers/coaches and then toss them quickly. because he was so inept his casual out call further infuriated players since he was such hey look at me move

an angel hernandez has the excuse that he's a dumb person so the fact that he stinks should not suprrise anyone. ken kaiser had been a solid ump and then fell in love with himself and just let all his skills and knowledge go to pot and didn't care. he was ben stiller in that goofy movie were the last shot is stiller stuffing his face with a bucket of chicken.

i can name other bad umpires but kaiser was the best reason for alderson to kick everyone to the curb. umpiring in the 90's was horrible and getting worse. fat pricks with bad attitudes were in charge.
   25. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4132653)
Regardless of intent, the sooner Lawrie learns he can't pull stuff like this the better. He's going to be a great player, but even putting aside The Picture, comes across as sort of a douchewad.

Also, this is not a good way to get favorable calls going forward. Umps can be petty little buggers.
   26. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4132662)
angel hernandez has been incompetent since the day he entered the major leagues and he has never been suspended for a level of ineptitude seen only on the benny hill show


Heh. If Eric Gregg doesn't get suspended after Game 7 of the 1997 NLCS, no one ever will.


Harvey's mentioned "The Angel Of Bad Calls" Hernandez. I think he's the worst umpire I ever saw, but Jerry Meals is giving him a run for that distinction.


I don't see much of Angel, but CB Bucknor stands out to me as not only a terrible umpire, but a complete d-bag as well.
   27. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4132667)
I don't know...call me crazy, but to me it looked like Lawrie was trying to hit Miller. He threw the helmet at Miller's feet. I guess it depends on how you define intent. I don't think Lawrie had some conscious plan to hit Miller, but he wasn't just slamming the helmet down on the ground out of frustration.

The call wasn't great, but I've seen a lot worse. Lawrie probably brought this on himself to some extent by moving towards first almost before the ball hit the glove. "Don't show up the ump by assuming you've gotten the call" is baseball 101.
   28. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4132668)
7-10 games seems appropriate.
   29. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4132675)
Jerry Meals is giving him a run for that distinction.


THIS.

I will never stop hating Meals for screwing the Pirates in that 19-inning game against Atlanta last year. It was obvious that he was tired and just wanted the game to be over, so he could go home and get some sleep. Douche.
   30. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4132676)
I don't think it was completely an accident that Miller was hit by the helmet. From the video on Baseball Tonight (0:32-0:34), it's clear the helmet was thrown towards Miller; Lawrie couldn't have known exactly how the helmet would bounce, but he certainly took the chance it could have hit Miller.

As for the call itself? The pitch was close; Lawrie didn't earn the benefit of the doubt on the previous pitch. Those calling for Miller's beheading need to take a breath.
   31. Tippecanoe Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4132682)
The umpires do not like players trying to influence calls (and the fans) by sprinting to first on borderline ball four. The players know this, and they also know that the umpires may choose to expand the strike zone on a subsequent pitch as a way to discourage the behavior. If the umps never actually broadened the zone, the implied threat would be ineffective.

So this incident is a part of the battle for control between umps and players/managers. That Lawrie was upset, OK. That he was shocked...SHOCKED, and flew off the handle like he did, is stupid.
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4132685)
andy

i don't think anybody is claiming lawrie was trying to hit the ump with the helmet

jumping around like a jackrabbit, charging, and then throwing in his direction are all acts by themselves worthy of the heave ho


My reaction is based on the assumption** that the whole incident was over very quickly, that no real damage was done, and that the "battery" was accidental. Ejecting him from the game is a no-brainer, but anything beyond that seems to me to be an overreaction to what was essentially a routine heat of the moment outburst that was punctuated by a flukish endpoint. If we acknowledge that the intent to hit Miller wasn't there, then would we be calling for suspensions if the helmet had bounced in a different direction? I don't think so. This isn't as if he intentionally bumped or spat on the ump.

**Which in turn is based on the video. If in fact Lowrie kept it up for a lot longer than the clip showed---say for more than a minute and a half---I might view it differently.
   33. zack Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4132686)
Now I'm curious too about the differences between PitchFX and the FoxTrax. PitchFX definitely makes that last one a borderline strike that you can't just take on a 3-2 count. It looked like a ball from the replay I saw, but then I'm probably even more imperfect an observer than either computer.


I don't know why they're different, but they have been consistently different since pitchf/x came on the scene 5 or 6 years ago. I'm liable to trust pitch f/x more, both because it needs to be more accurate to record the kind of information it does*, and because it agrees with my eye much better.

Is the foxtrax based off the center field camera? The off-center centerfield camera?

*of course, it can be (and sometimes is) mis-calibrated.
   34. Russ Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4132687)
it's clear the helmet was thrown towards Miller; Lawrie couldn't have known exactly how the helmet would bounce, but he certainly took the chance it could have hit Miller.


Because we all know that when we throw things in a rage, the one thing we're really thinking carefully about is where the thing we're throwing is going.

C'mon... obviously Lawrie f'ed up, deserves 7-10 games, but trying to argue for any sort of intent is madness.

   35. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4132688)
These days may not be as far in the past as we thought.

That was not a great call, but Lawrie's response was incredibly poor. 7 games seems like a healthy minimum suspension. I'm with TDF on the helmet toss, btw; he didn't slam it straight down, but fired it at Miller's feet.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4132691)
The umpires do not like players trying to influence calls (and the fans) by sprinting to first on borderline ball four. The players know this, and they also know that the umpires may choose to expand the strike zone on a subsequent pitch as a way to discourage the behavior. If the umps never actually broadened the zone, the implied threat would be ineffective.

And here I completely sympathize with Miller. Sprinting to first on borderline calls is strictly bush league stuff, and from an ump's POV I'd think it would be especially annoying when it comes from a player whose career to date consists of all of half a season.
   37. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4132692)
At a minimum he was intending (and was successful judging by Miller's expression) to cause fear of harm, which crosses the line into assault.


WTF is wrong with you? Assault? Punching someone in the face is assault. Yelling at them (which happens enough to be considered normal in MLB) and slamming something into the ground is not assault. Nor does it come close.
   38. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4132694)

It's weird how these things go. Neither pitch looks particularly close to me. Also, Miller, who has a slow call all night, all of a sudden is calling strikes the second they hit the catcher's mitt? That's retaliation.
   39. Toolsy McClutch Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4132695)
The call looked horrible. But Lawrie cannot slam the helmet like that, that close to Miller. It's a (low grade) reckless act, and should be punished.


I'm a huge Jay fan, but he should take the suspension and learn from it. 10 games or less should be fine.

The article is a hatchet job though.
   40. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4132697)
Because we all know that when we throw things in a rage, the one thing we're really thinking carefully about is where the thing we're throwing is going.
That's kind of my point; I don't think, in the moment, he cared whether it hit Miller or not. If he really meant "That was not my intention at all", he wouldn't have thrown it towards the ump and taken the chance.
   41. JE (Jason) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4132702)
Does anyone know if the beer chucker got arrested? After his arraignement will he join the Mets bullpen?
   42. Russ Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4132721)
That's kind of my point; I don't think, in the moment, he cared whether it hit Miller or not. If he really meant "That was not my intention at all", he wouldn't have thrown it towards the ump and taken the chance.


I don't think it was that he didn't care about whether he hit Miller or not, he didn't even think about what the helmet might hit (other than the ground). I think this is definitely involuntary umpireslaughter, so should get a commensurate sentence. 10 games is 40-50 plate appearances. For Lawrie, that's a pretty severe cut into his season. Anything more than that is a bit out of whack.

This brief excerpt of suspensions in August 2011 pretty much places the suspension in the ballpark of 5 to 7 games, 10 max. Johnny Cueto only got 7 games for ending Jason LaRue's career. I can't see how in the hell that happened, but if Cueto's offense is only worth 7 games, no way is Lawrie due more than 10 games.


   43. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4132725)
At a minimum he was intending (and was successful judging by Miller's expression) to cause fear of harm, which crosses the line into assault.

WTF is wrong with you? Assault? Punching someone in the face is assault. Yelling at them (which happens enough to be considered normal in MLB) and slamming something into the ground is not assault. Nor does it come close.


Actually, the case for assault here is not so far fetched. At common law, an intentional act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact is an assault. It's basically a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm.

Generally, the elements of assault are (1) an act (2) intended to cause an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact (3) that causes apprehension of such contact in the victim.

Here, Lawrie slammed his helmet down at the umpire's feet while screaming and approaching the umpire. If Lawrie intended to cause apprehension of harm and the umpire reasonably believed that he was about to be attacked, Lawrie's actions constitute an assault; on the other hand, if Lawrie simply threw his helmet down in frustration, as most players do, his actions would not be an assault.

The point is that it's closer than you think. No actual physical contact need occur for an assault under this definition. Different jurisdictions classify/define assault and battery differently, but in a jurisdiction using the above definition of assault, then punching someone in the face (your example above) would be a battery.

EDIT: And actually, since the helmet seems to have hit the umpire, it wouldn't be crazy to argue battery. If Lawrie was substantially certain that his helmet would hit the umpire, or if it were deemed that Lawrie did not exercise proper care in slamming the helmet down, the intent element _could_ be satisfied. It's tenuous, but a possible argument could be made.
   44. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4132726)
It's weird how these things go. Neither pitch looks particularly close to me. Also, Miller, who has a slow call all night, all of a sudden is calling strikes the second they hit the catcher's mitt? That's retaliation.


You've been practicing mind-reading throughout this whole thread. Care to let us in on your secret?
   45. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4132728)
Johnny Cueto only got 7 games for ending Jason LaRue's career. I can't see how in the hell that happened...


If LaRue didn't want to get kicked in the head, he shouldn't have gone out into the middle of a scrum. Sometimes, bad things happen when you involve yourself in a fight. Just ask Bill Lee.
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: May 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4132733)
If LaRue didn't want to get kicked in the head, he shouldn't have gone out into the middle of a scrum. Sometimes, bad things happen when you involve yourself in a fight. Just ask Bill Lee.


Not just that, but LaRue's own words indicated he was a damn concussion waiting to happen. If Cueto's kick wasn't the final blow, a foul tip the following week would have been. LaRue should not have been on the field considering the precarious state of his noggin, and I don't think blaming Cueto for ending LaRue's career is terribly fair.
   47. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4132750)
You've been practicing mind-reading throughout this whole thread. Care to let us in on your secret?

I don't think this comment was called for.
   48. DKDC Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4132757)
WTF is wrong with you? Assault? Punching someone in the face is assault.


#43 already explained it better than I could since IANAL, but I was using the common law definition of assault (intentionally causing fear of harm), not the connotation it has for many (punching someone in the face) or the specific legal definition of assault in Toronto (I have no idea what that is).

I think it’s an important distinction here because he didn’t just slam his helmet to the ground in frustration, he did in a deliberate, directed manner.

I think MLB should suspend players for longer for these types of acts, so if it were up to me, I’d suspend him for a couple weeks. But he’ll probably get 5 - 7 days given the established precedents.
   49. Squash Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4132759)
Can't we have both? It's fairly clear Lawrie acted like a lunatic - it also seems fairly clear that pitch 6 was not a strike, particularly when you take into account that no one calls a high strike, especially/particularly on off-speed pitches, and given the events of the very pitch prior and that Lawrie is a rookie, it's suspicious.

OTOH it's not surprising that Lawrie acted like a lunatic, there were several glowing articles written this offseason about how competitive/insane/borderline (or maybe not so borderline) assholeish he is. The articles were written as if we were meant to imply that he was a gamer/dirtbag/scrappy white guy, but the flipside of being insane is that you are of course insane.
   50. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4132771)
Jesus, anyone who thinks Lawrie threw his helmet straight down has no standing to object to ball/strike calls.
   51. Cris E Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4132773)
Technical definitions of Assault aren't relevant for this any more than for bumping an umpire. The line being crossed, and the one that has to be defended, is players not being careful how they interact with the authority figures on the field. You just can't do some things, and carelessly flinging equipment around in a blind rage is one of them. Players and managers get suspended for inadvertent or minor contact with umps as well, and this should be handled similarly.
   52. Squash Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4132780)
Does anyone know if the beer chucker got arrested? After his arraignement will he join the Mets bullpen?

He did hit the outside corner.
   53. I Am Not a Number Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4132790)
anyone who thinks Lawrie threw his helmet straight down has no standing to object to ball/strike calls.

Agreed. Lawrie needs to learn about angle of inflection and angle of reflection. He was far enough away from Miller when he threw the helmet that had he thrown it straight down, it never would have hit Miller.

Regardless of what was going through Lawrie's mind at the time he freaked out, the appearance was that he was throwing the helmet towards Miller and he may have a difficult time talking his way out of that.
   54. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4132793)
Johnny Cueto only got 7 games for ending Jason LaRue's career. I can't see how in the hell that happened...

If LaRue didn't want to get kicked in the head, he shouldn't have gone out into the middle of a scrum. Sometimes, bad things happen when you involve yourself in a fight. Just ask Bill Lee.
Not just that, but LaRue's own words indicated he was a damn concussion waiting to happen. If Cueto's kick wasn't the final blow, a foul tip the following week would have been. LaRue should not have been on the field considering the precarious state of his noggin, and I don't think blaming Cueto for ending LaRue's career is terribly fair.Add in the fact that before the fight Larue had a 59 OPS+ over the previous 4 seasons (add in defense and he was sub-replacement) and it's hard to argue that Cueto "ended Jason LaRue's career".
   55. Dale Sams Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4132797)
If there such a panel for things, I would judge that Lawrie intention for the helmet to bounce up and strike the ump, was greater than Delmon's intent to hit with the bat. If anything Lawrie intended to intimidate the ump and make the ump think Lawrie was throwing the helmet at him.

10 games, and I'm being nice.
   56. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4132801)
Double post trying to fix formatting. Doubly sorry.
   57. Greg K Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4132817)
If there such a panel for things, I would judge that Lawrie intention for the helmet to bounce up and strike the ump, was greater than Delmon's intent to hit with the bat. If anything Lawrie intended to intimidate the ump and make the ump think Lawrie was throwing the helmet at him.

Just saw the video, and I have to say, considering the comments upthread about how he threw his helmet directly down I was quite surprised at how clearly the helmet was heading in the ump's direction.

But at the same time this seems harsh. It was my impression that Delmon Young was attempting to intimidate the umpire bv hitting him with a bat. How is that worse than Lawrie attempting to intimidate the umpire by making him think he was throwing a helmet at him?

Or is Young docked points on the "intention" scale because actually being accurate from that distance is a long-shot?

EDIT: To also echo #49, if the headline had just said "Blue Jay ejected for tossing helmet" I'd just assume it was Lawrie. I can see Bautista getting tossed for arguing balls and strikes, but that would be over his constant whining, not a tantrum.
   58. Jim Wisinski Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4132824)
If anything Lawrie intended to intimidate the ump


This is how I view the situation. No, Lawrie probably wasn't actually trying to hit Miller but he took steps forward and spiked the helmet right at Miller's feet. That's a pretty obvious threat regardless of whether it actually bounces into Miller or not.

Comparing the suspension for player on player violence to player v umpire doesn't work. The punishments for doing anything against an umpire have to be much more severe because you can't have a sport where the officials are afraid that some ######### is going to attack if they make a borderline call against them.
   59. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4132826)
Jesus, anyone who thinks Lawrie threw his helmet straight down has no standing to object to ball/strike calls.

I would deem this one repeatable.
   60. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4132828)
Umpire hit with Brett Lawrie’s helmet, full beer cup


I was wondering why Brett Lawrie was drinking beer during a game. Of course, the cup was still full, so I guess it's OK.
   61. Dale Sams Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4132839)
Umpire hit with Brett Lawrie’s helmet, full beer cup


I thought they only sold ice cream in those little helmets.
   62. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4132841)
Comparing the suspension for player on player violence to player v umpire doesn't work. The punishments for doing anything against an umpire have to be much more severe because you can't have a sport where the officials are afraid that some ######### is going to attack if they make a borderline call against them.

Maybe one part of a resolution to this case might be for Miller to say whether or not he actually felt assaulted, as opposed to feeling that he was being yelled at in a manner that's probably happened to him many times before. Specifically, he could say whether or not the helmet throw added to any fear of battery. I personally don't think he'd lie or exaggerate, and I also think that his testimony might put a bit of perspective into all this back-and-forth.
   63. Gaelan Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4132863)
It seems pretty obvious that the strike was only called a strike as retaliation for Lawrie starting to walk to first on the previous pitch (which was also a clear ball). I'd like to see Miller also get suspended.


Totally agree. Moreover, I'm not interested in proof, I'm interested in a purge.

The umpires do not like players trying to influence calls (and the fans) by sprinting to first on borderline ball four. The players know this, and they also know that the umpires may choose to expand the strike zone on a subsequent pitch as a way to discourage the behavior. If the umps never actually broadened the zone, the implied threat would be ineffective.

So this incident is a part of the battle for control between umps and players/managers. That Lawrie was upset, OK. That he was shocked...SHOCKED, and flew off the handle like he did, is stupid.


The fact that you think this is reasonable makes your viewpoint on all future issues suspect.

If I was a famous ballplayer with millions in the bank I would declare war on the umpires. There is no doubt that umpires intentionally make calls to punish players and teach them lessons. It's time some courageous player fights back. It's a war that I couldn't personally win but it might have the advantage of humiliating the game sufficiently to do something about their behaviour. Umpires are among the lowest form of life.
   64. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4132884)
Totally agree. Moreover, I'm not interested in proof, I'm interested in a purge.

These are difficult to keep track of. Might you have a spreadsheet?
   65. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4132903)
barry bonds reveled in being an unpleasant person and got enough close calls to last one player 100 lifetimes.

interestingly, when barry experienced a bad call on balls/strikes he would smile and get back up there to hit. if it was a called strike 3 he would smile and slowly take off his helmet but avoid eye contact with the umpire as he walked to the dugout. but always smiling

he did not hop around like a ####### wallaby nor did he throw anything like a 5 year old just told to pick up his toys
   66. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4132909)
interestingly, when barry experienced a bad call on balls/strikes he would smile and get back up there to hit. if it was a called strike 3 he would smile and slowly take off his helmet but avoid eye contact with the umpire as he walked to the dugout. but always smiling

Doesn't sound like roid rage to me....
   67. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4132916)
If I was a famous ballplayer with millions in the bank I would declare war on the umpires. There is no doubt that umpires intentionally make calls to punish players and teach them lessons. It's time some courageous player fights back. It's a war that I couldn't personally win but it might have the advantage of humiliating the game sufficiently to do something about their behaviour. Umpires are among the lowest form of life.

So what stops you from crashing an umpires' convention with a suicide belt strapped around your waist? It certainly wouldn't appear to be any moral or religious qualms.
   68. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4132919)
Ah Gaelan, always available to be completely over the top and devoid of reason. Thanks for blessing us with your presence. Quick, how much do you want to punch Joe Posnanski right now?
   69. Tippecanoe Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4132924)
If I was a famous ballplayer with millions in the bank I would declare war on the umpires. There is no doubt that umpires intentionally make calls to punish players and teach them lessons. It's time some courageous player fights back. It's a war that I couldn't personally win but it might have the advantage of humiliating the game sufficiently to do something about their behaviour. Umpires are among the lowest form of life.

Is this sarcasm? If not, then it makes your viewpoint on all future issues suspect.
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4132940)
I wish I had a dollar for every time Bernie Williams complained about a call and the announcer said "You know it was a bad call because Bernie never complains."
   71. Rants Mulliniks Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4132944)
I just watched all the clips and replays from the MLB.com recap (SportsNet footage).

The first supposed ball four was 4-6" outside, and on a ball that far out of the strike zone, I can't fault Lawrie for assuming it would be called a ball and heading for first. The final pitch could have caught the outside of the plate (there was no overhead shot), but it was clearly high - above the letters - and clearly a retaliation for the presumptive jog towards 1st on the previous pitch.

Lawrie is a hot head and needs to cool his jets in general. He was probably extra amped because the Jays have been booting the ball and airmailing throws all week, but I certainly couldn't argue in good faith that he didn't intend to hit the ump on the bounce.
   72. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4132954)
He was probably extra amped because the Jays have been booting the ball and airmailing throws all week, but I certainly couldn't argue in good faith that he didn't intend to hit the ump on the bounce.

Then why bounce it? Why not just throw it at his feet, directly?

He didn't mean to hit him, but that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to be punished for hitting him.

7 games seems fair to me (although an appeal from 10 to 7 is probably better).
   73. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4132964)
Is this sarcasm? If not, then it makes your viewpoint on all future issues suspect.


Based upon Gaelen's previous commentary on various matters, probably not. The man is so extremist and unrelenting about adhering to perfect morality and the punishments that should be visited upon those who fail to meet that standard that he probably self-flagellates when he has a minor moral failing like farting in a full elevator.

edited.
   74. Rants Mulliniks Posted: May 16, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4132994)
Then why bounce it? Why not just throw it at his feet, directly?


Maybe because that way he can say later that he didn't mean to hit him? I don't know. I don't think he put a lot of thought into it.
   75. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4133031)
My reaction is based on the assumption** that the whole incident was over very quickly, that no real damage was done, and that the "battery" was accidental. Ejecting him from the game is a no-brainer, but anything beyond that seems to me to be an overreaction to what was essentially a routine heat of the moment outburst that was punctuated by a flukish endpoint. If we acknowledge that the intent to hit Miller wasn't there, then would we be calling for suspensions if the helmet had bounced in a different direction? I don't think so. This isn't as if he intentionally bumped or spat on the ump.

Contact with an umpire has always been more of a strict liability offense. Lack of intent isn't a complete defense, but it might mitigate the penalty somewhat. When Lawrie slammed his helmet into the ground in the general direction of the umpire, he bore the risk that the helmet might strike the umpire - just like a manager charging out of the dugout to argue who bumps an umpire because he can't put the brakes on in time. Had Lawrie fired his helmet directly in the umpires's face, his season, and perhaps career, would likely have been over. Under the actual circumstances, he probably gets ~15 games. There really isn't any case for Lawrie getting off scott free.
   76. A triple short of the cycle Posted: May 16, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4133055)
You know a pitch is a ball high when the catcher pulls it down 6 inches to frame it.
   77. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4133060)
Contact with an umpire has always been more of a strict liability offense. Lack of intent isn't a complete defense, but it might mitigate the penalty somewhat. When Lawrie slammed his helmet into the ground in the general direction of the umpire, he bore the risk that the helmet might strike the umpire - just like a manager charging out of the dugout to argue who bumps an umpire because he can't put the brakes on in time. Had Lawrie fired his helmet directly in the umpires's face, his season, and perhaps career, would likely have been over. Under the actual circumstances, he probably gets ~15 games. There really isn't any case for Lawrie getting off scott free.

Maybe not, and maybe that's what he'll get, but I'm much more inclined to let players blow off steam for a strictly limited amount of time, with the clock running, but after which they're gone, and face an automatic suspension if they persist in arguing after the ejection.** IMO the helmet toss doesn't add much if anything to the offense: No harm, no foul, and whatever harm there was here was trivial.

**On the added ground that by wasting time arguing, the protesting team can often freeze the opposing pitcher and take him out of his rhythm. It's the same reason I don't care much for instant replay in any but the most drastic of circumstances.
   78. mex4173 Posted: May 16, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4133130)
Jays fan.

On TV it seemed clear as soon as it happened that Lawrie's toss was aimed in the direction of the ump. He didn't get a bad bounce, that was a shot across the bow (that happened to wing the guy). 7-10 games is fair IMO.


Equally clear the ump made the call as a big #### you to Lawrie. Lawrie's action has made punishing the umpire impossible, but it was pretty pathetic on his part too.
   79. FrankM Posted: May 16, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4133134)
Lawrie should be suspended; I'm just glad he didn't slug the ump.

As for Miller, it was blatantly obvious that he called strike three to punish Lawrie for his reaction on the previous pitch, and for this he should be fired. Not suspended, fired. Deliberately making a bad call is in the same moral sphere as fixing a game. Whether his motive was a desire to show Lawrie up or that he had money bet on the Rays, doesn't matter.

They can't go to automated calling of balls and strikes soon enough.
   80. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 16, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4133139)
Can anyone tell me how to pronounce his name correctly? I've heard Vasgersian (pretty sure it was him) pronounce it over and over like it rhymes with Torii Hunter's first name, but then I've heard random announcers calling games pronounce it like it rhymes with Bob Howry's last name.
   81. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4133141)
They can't go to automated calling of balls and strikes soon enough.

Tom Glavine has personally employed a hit squad to take out anyone who advances such dystopian and antihuman visions. Him and Ned Ludd, two peas in a pod. All I'm saying is check underneath your car before starting it, FrankM. Especially you're posting here using your real name.
   82. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4133142)
They can't go to automated calling of balls and strikes soon enough.

Perfection is boring. There's a reason why beauty is defined by flaws.
   83. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: May 16, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4133161)
Perfection is boring. There's a reason why beauty is defined by flaws.


Joe West is the most beautiful umpire ever.
   84. snowles Posted: May 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4133171)
"I don't think he put a lot of thought into it."

Bingo. I think there's a lot of analysis being done on a completely irrational and thoughtless action. I certainly don't condone Lawrie for going nuts, but I'm not going to sit around and pretend I've never completely overreacted to a situation and gone nuts myself. Luckily, my wife doesn't allow helmets in the house...
   85. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4133207)

He got 4 games. He's appealing.
   86. Tippecanoe Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4133210)
ther his motive was a desire to show Lawrie up or that he had money bet on the Rays, doesn't matter

I don't think showing Lawrie up is the motive, I think maintaining complete control is the intent in this case. The umps enforce the rules, but they also attempt to curtail certain other behaviors that they feel undermine their authority.

Provided as an observation, not a defense of the umpire in this case.
   87. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4133214)
paul

thanks
   88. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4133215)
angel hernandez has been incompetent since the day he entered the major leagues and he has never been suspended for a level of ineptitude seen only on the benny hill show


Apparently you are unfamiliar with the real reason MLB Baseball is called "The Show".

The umpires do not like players trying to influence calls (and the fans) by sprinting to first on borderline ball four. The players know this, and they also know that the umpires may choose to expand the strike zone on a subsequent pitch as a way to discourage the behavior. If the umps never actually broadened the zone, the implied threat would be ineffective.


The umps are employees whose job is to make fair rulings on events in baseball games. What they "like" or "dislike" about player behavior outside the rule-book should be moot. The umps should check their egos, make the proper call, and if the player make an ass out of themselves, let it be. While I disagree with Gaelen's vehemence, I agree with Gaelen, just less vehemently.

Automated ball/strike calling should return the focus of baseball to the game and the players, and that's a good thing.
   89. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4133225)
i want to believe that baseball will re-visit the use of questec once bud dies/retires/bursts into flame
   90. Dan Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4133226)
Surprised the suspension was as short as 4 games. I imagine at that length there's no way it's reduced on appeal, but he'll obviously appeal it anyway.
   91. God Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4133227)
Post 78 has it about right. I fail to see how any reasonable person could argue that Strike 3 was an honest call. It was clearly an attempt to say "screw you" to Lawrie. None of which justifies Lawrie's reaction, of course. I mean, he's been playing baseball how long? Surely he must know that in MLB, if you start walking to first on a called strike, a vindictive call is the usual result.

Now whether a vindictive call SHOULD be the usual result is something Bud and Co. will have to deal with. Unfortunately, I agree with the above poster who said that Lawrie's actions have made it impossible for MLB to properly punish Miller.

As for the two pitch-tracking systems -- forgive my ignorance, but do they move the strike zone around based on the batter's height, or do they just use one uniform strike zone for everyone? If it's the latter, they're worse than useless.
   92. Tippecanoe Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4133241)
The umps are employees whose job is to make fair rulings on events in baseball games


Their job is more than that. They also have the responsibility to control the sporting environment, which is why that have the authority to eject players or managers for their behavior.

I would be in favor of robotic balls and strikes, though. Strike two in this case is a good example of how badly the umps get fooled.
   93.     Hey Gurl Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4133246)
There are 12 red triangles outside the strikezone compared to two red squares.

I don't disagree with anyone about Lawrie, but Miller should be disciplined as well. Is there a way to see which ones were pre-Lawrie vs. post-Lawrie?
   94. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4133251)
I don't think this comment was called for.


Struck me as a totally reasonable reaction to your bald assertion that the umpire was retaliating.
   95. Fanshawe Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4133259)
Their job is more than that. They also have the responsibility to control the sporting environment, which is why that have the authority to eject players or managers for their behavior.


Sure. But it seems here* that Miller contributed to an out of control sporting environment by declining to enforce the rule book and instead choosing to punish Lawrie for hurting Miller's feelings. That doesn't excuse Lawrie, who significantly escalated the situation (although, really, getting yelled at and grazed by a helmet isn't some huge affront), but Miller is not some innocent bystander. Miller intended to piss off Lawrie.

*It seems to me this was a make-up call, but, obviously, I can't be certain because I can't read Miller's mind.
   96. Kurt Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4133272)
Struck me as a totally reasonable reaction to your bald assertion that the umpire was retaliating.

It wasn't a bald assertion, it was an opinion based on objectively verifiable observations (the pitches didn't look close, Miller suddenly developed a quick strike call). I'm with him on your response.
   97. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 16, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4133278)
Their job is more than that. They also have the responsibility to control the sporting environment, which is why that have the authority to eject players or managers for their behavior.


First, is it in the rule-book that they should control players who react to pitches improperly?

Second, sure, you are right they have "some" responsibility to control the sporting environment, but it shouldn't be an unlimited authority. They should have specific authority to control specific behavior. If they are going to invoke some "martial law" clause to control a home crowd, it better be for something far more egregious than a batter running to 1st on a close pitch.

Thirdly, their response to out of bounds behavior can NEVER be "make up calls". They should be able to warn players, punish them explicitly in some manner provided for by baseball's rules, just as when they throw someone out of the game. But they shouldn't be changing the outcome of pitches or plays as a punishment for a prior act.

I don't think many people would disagree umpiring would be better if baseball publicly announced umpire punishments the same way they do players. Sure, it's more work for the MLB, besides fighting internally with the umpires union over the punishments they'll face criticism from fans and media over whether it was enough, or too much. But that's the MLB's job! They need to provide transparency to give fans and media confidence that games are being played fairly (no PEDs, no cheating) and called fairly (no makeup calls, no grudge calls, confidence that bad umpires are getting warned and worked with to improve).

The MLB needs to lose it's thin skin over criticism and start being more open. If you hate being criticized, then maybe you should examine what you are being criticized for, if you can't confidently justify it you should be able to take wrong headed criticism. But I think the truth is the MLB knows many of it's archaic umpire handling rules make no sense whatsoever, and they would prefer to bury the problems than solve them.
   98. Tippecanoe Posted: May 16, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4133327)
First, is it in the rule-book that they should control players who react to pitches improperly?


If this was college football, it would be in the rulebook and it would be a 15-yard penalty. I am not in favor of that.

My comments upthread are pragmatic, not a statement of how things ought to be. Ballplayers know that the borderline strike goes against them after that particular breach of etiquette. According to Pitch FX, it was borderline -- not among the 100 worst calls of the night, as the stike zone is defined by the rules. Hence, Lawrie should not be terribly surprised.
   99. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 16, 2012 at 09:53 PM (#4133558)
Struck me as a totally reasonable reaction to your bald assertion that the umpire was retaliating.

Do I need to include "IMHO" on each comment? Come on - clearly I'm going by what I thought I saw.
   100. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM (#4133628)
He was probably extra amped because the Jays have been booting the ball and airmailing throws all week, but I certainly couldn't argue in good faith that he didn't intend to hit the ump on the bounce.

Then why bounce it? Why not just throw it at his feet, directly?


Note the boldface.
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