Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 10/21/14

From Larry Brown Sports:

Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie went overboard on an umpire during Tuesday’s game and can expect a suspension because of it. Lawrie was upset about being called out on strikes by homeplate umpire Bill Miller on a pitch he thought was up in the zone. Lawrie began heading to first for what he thought was ball four, but he snapped after hearing Miller say it was the third strike. Lawrie went crazy and chucked his helmet into the ground, right at the umpire’s feet. He was immediately ejected and can expect a suspension from MLB for the incident.

Lawrie defended himself after the game, and apologized for his actions.

"That was not my intention at all," Lawrie said. "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's just my passion for the game," he said. "I wanted to help my teammates out as best I could. That's the pride I have in this game. I leave my emotions out on the field."

Miller filed a report with MLB after the game, and said Lawrie went too far.

"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. As if being hit by a helmet wasn't bad enough, a Jays fan threw a drink at Miller after the game:

As we've seen in the past, baseball leagues take great measures to protect their umpires. Yorvit Torrealba was suspended 66 games by the Venezuelan League for pushing an umpire during a game. Delmon Young got a 50-game suspension for throwing his bat at an umpire during a minor league game. Lawrie can expect a suspension as well.


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  • Make up your mind. Did it hit the ump on the leg-- which it looked like to me-- or on the hip? There is a difference between the leg (looked like the shin) and the hip.
  • Leg, Hip or anywhere...all semantics. He needs to act like an adult and not throw anything...I hope he gets at least a 10 game suspension. whatever it is, it won't be enough.
  • If that was a strike, Lawrie's helmet never came close to that ump!
  • These umpires this year have blown too many calls, and I hope the league comes down on them. Bill Miller clearly blew the first call, then it seemed he didn't like how Lawrie reacted to the bad call, so he clearly blew the second one on purpose. If Lawrie gets suspended, then Miller should be suspended as well for being such a poor quality umpire.
  • So the UMP being hit by a helmet thrown on the ground will yield a 20+ game suspension, while a pitcher can thrown at Bryce Harper (admit to it) and get five games and not even miss a start. Sounds like the MLB is protecting the group of people.
  • Harper is a rookie, and already has a ruputation as a bit of an A-Hole. Miller's an umpire. You may not like it, but that's the way it works and has worked for about 125 years.
  • so for 125 years umpires can make horrific calls, and when someone complains they get kicked of the game?
    That umpire should have ejected himself for calling either of those two pitches strikes
  • I have to go with the umpire here. A plate umpire makes approximately 1200 to 1300 decisions per game (ball - strike, safe - out, fair - foul) so if he only made 2 mistakes in that game, he did one hell of a job. Maybe you should become an umpire, if you think that you intelligent enough to pass the required exams.
  • 1200-1300 decisions in one game? So, an ump makes about 4 to 6 decisions PER pitch?
  • Yes baseball is a game of tradition. Umpires make bad calls, players make bad plays, and coaches make bad decisions. There are certain things that are arguable and certain things that aren't. Judgement, I.E. balls and strikes, safe or out= non-arguable. A percieved miss-application of a rule=arguable. Nevertheless no mistake made by anyone on the field deems you the right to detach and throw equipment at anyone let alone the umpire. Thus your guy wasn't a victim of a "bad call" he was a victim of tradition for previoulsy showing the umpire up. Like it or not it's been that way since the begining and baseball purists will never let that change....just ask Brice. As Cole put it....Welcome to the major leagues! But hey maybe you can get Roger Goodell to come in and ruin baseball too! Just tell him the players are too mean to eachother and the umpires!
  • Acually that is exactly how it works. You are not allowed to agrue balls and strikes in baseball, period, over and done.
  • And if pigs could fly you'd have to work a lot harder to get your bacon. Some things are just the way they are.
  • Ump gets hit accidentally on bad call = 20+ game suspension for Lawrie
    Bryce Harper gets hit intentionally by pitch (pitcher admits it) = Hamels gets five games and doesn't miss a start. Is something wrong here?
  • There is never a good excuse for Lawrie's behavior. He just has to accept the call and move on. But, he absolutely got screwed. Ther first called strike was one of the worst calls of all time; that ball was so outside that Mr. Magoo could have seen it. The last called stike was a lot closer, but still looked like a ball to me. Also, from watching the ump's mouth at the end, it certainly looks like he was using some choice words at Lawrie, why doesn't he get ejected too? In any case, this ump needs out of the game if he can't call better than what we saw, or if he lets his emotions get in the way of a fair game. I am not a Blue Jays fan, but fair is fair.
  • Clearly those last two pitches were NOT strikes. It was unfortunate the helmet bounced and hit ump. Miller should take a look at reply and rethink his strike zone.
  • Clearly you are correct, those were not strikes,,,,I think what happened was that Lawrie took it upon his self by running down to first base before the call...I think had he stood in there till the call, he would have been standing on first...but since he took off before call, it pissed the umpire off...so now, the strike zone got even bigger....hence the called strike 3...Lesson to be learned? dont show up the umpires....it's not right...but that's the way it is....I can only imagine the next time he steps in a batters box...his strike zone is gonna be really big.
  • "When" is the MLBPA going to quit ***** footing to and cowing down to the MLB owners and go on strike until someone does something about these blind umpires? It seems as though these umpires are Gods and they never make a mistake! A blind man could see that last pitch was more than high and outside. It was level with Lawries shoulders. The helmet hitting the umpire on the hip didn't hurt him. Maybe they should start having the umpires where dresses or hire some female umpires if they are going to be so touchy!
  • For the past few years I felt the umpiring improved but it seems this year to have taken a step back.
  • These umps think they are some sort of god, and can ruin a players future with these horrible calls. When they make these kind of calls they should be suspended, fined and put on probation for 20 games by the league office. Then the players would not have to take it upon themselves to stand up and show how inept some of these calls are.
  • Mr. Lawrie's actions are childlike. This man gets paid to play a childs game and then acts like a child. Any one in the real world would be fired immediatley for this type of behavior. What scares me the most is that some of the readers are on his side. Balls, strikes, it does not really matter. The only thing that matters is he is a role model wether he likes it or not and he should be suspended for acting like a jack***.What ever the suspension is, it won't be enough.
  • You answered your own statement "the man gets paid to play a childs game and then acts like a child" your symantax may have been off but that sounds pretty expected. As for your comment about being fired in the real world....I've had bosses act far more immature then that and they weren't fired. That type of thing happens everyday "in the real world" and people keep their boring "real jobs". It sounds like we have a hater alert to ring!
  • Umps playing with players futures. Ump should be suspended and have to appoligize for such terrible obvious calls.
  • It's so funny...these same people complaining werent complaining when Pena was called out during Yankees and Orioles series with called strikes WAY worse than Lawrie....
  • The real problem as I see it is the limitations of the human eye. When I watch tennis on TV and see the amazing technology they utilize to ensure that they get the calls right, it makes me wonder why baseball goes on allowing the umpires to be the show. They could end it but they seem to want it to go on: the bad calls, the screaming matches, the embarassment, the constantly shifting strike zone. Why? It would be such an easy fix. Station an ump in the press box in front of instant replay camera and have the head umpire wear an earpiece and voila; no more perfect games taken away, no more out calls when the baseman's foot is two feet off the bag, etc. Get it right! Allow the players to decide the game, to be the show. As for balls and strikes, back in the early days before center field cameras there was no way to question the umps, but now, it's apparent that many calls are wrong and it's terrible for the pitchers and hitters to never be sure what's going to be called what. It's not that the umps are dishonest or incompetent, just the limitation of the human eye in judging split second events. Should technology be allowed to take over? I think the umps should be lobbying for this hard because they're the ones who are being humiliated and having their authority undermined. Watching baseball games decided by umps has turned me off from watching the game, and as a Phillies fan in 1977 all I can say is that Steve Garvey still hasn't touched home plate.
  • NickfromAL got it right. Miller didn't like his reaction, so he wanted to teach him a lesson. That's not what you are there for. I have played and umped, and I was taught when you officiate you have to take some heat and not get your feelings hurt. As to the remark about being childish - Lawrie is a guy with intensity and competitive drive who eye for the strike zone was damaged by someone else's ego.
  • Those two strikes were not even close. When will the umps be accountable for their bad calls? Nothing ever happens to them.
  • Everytime something like this happens it's another vote for machines calling balls and strikes. I don't want that, but machines feelings don't get hurt, they don't hold grudges, they don't look to get even if they feel they were shown up, and they don't interpret the strike zone to their own standards.
  • The helmet thing was out of line, and Lawrie should take whatever punishment is handed to him like a man. The drink, however, was deserved and well placed.
  • Are we going to have to institute instant replay for every pitch? I think Lawrie has all rights to be pissed and I don't think that the ump should be trying to teach him a lesson at the expence of the rules, those were never stikes, and where were the other umps helping to pull Miller's head out of his ass? I think all the umps on that field need to be suspended for Miller's actions as a warning to all umps that you are not the rule makers, but are the enforcers. A ball is a ball, strike is a strike and you can't change that. I say at the very least Miller should be suspended for the fifty games and should have to appologize to Lawrie and to all fans. Lawrie shouls be suspended for five games for the throwing of the helmet, I don't think he was purposely trying to hit Miller, but he did throw it in anger. I personally think Miller should be fired for that stunt and if he truely can't tell where the strike zone is, he has no use left.
  • Who gives a damn...its baseball.
  • neither one of those two pitches were even close to being strikes, if you ask me the umpire is the one who should be suspended
  • I watched this entire game. The conduct of umpire Bill Miller was unprofessional and arrogant. Should not be tolerated by MLB. The 2nd strike call was 3 inches off the plate and Lawrie thot he had worked a walk. Miller must have thot that he was being shown up and rung him up on a pitch that was even worse than the 2nd strike call. Miller should be suspended for his conduct. This pompous Ass affected the outcome of this game so he could establish "I'm Boss". Pure unadulterated Pucky and no place for it in the game. I am sick of MLB sugercoating all their bad calls. It is what it is. The helmut was just frustration and never intended that was obvious. Bad umpiring.
  • The calls were terrible. Why are the umps not held accountable for such gross inconsistencies? The helmet was thrown to the ground and he didn't know it would bounce up and hit the ump. Given the degree of the terrible calls...I'd call it a wash. No susp or either susp them both...ump and player.
  • My first question to all of those people who badmouth the umpire is how many times have you sat behind the plate and called balls and strikes during a game? An umpire who sets up inside (like pretty much all of them do) doesn't have a striaght line view of the outside of the plate. The catcher did a great job of framing that pitch back in to the zone when hi caught it, which can affect the view of the zone. If you watch, Lawrie obviously says something about it as he walks back to the box. One of the unwritten rules of playing baseball: "Don't question the umpires strikezone". The second pitch was a little high, but Lawrie again starts making his move to first early, which seems to be showing up the umpire. Almost any comment about that pitch was probably going to get him tossed. The tantrum afterwards is what will cost him playing time.

    And as far as umpires "playing with players futures", I think getting called out on strikes won't affect his future as much as a reputation as a hot-head...
  • It is not an "unwritten" rule to not question the ump's strike zone. Arguing balls/strikes is an automatic ejection clearly stated in the rule book. Umpires are held accountable for their calls. Results are not made public, but umps can get demoted or fired. Remember Eric Gregg? I expect about a 50 game suspension and when he gets back, he will have a huge strike zone!
  • Lawrie should be suspended for 10 games for his conduct. Miller should be suspended for 4 games for the calls and his conduct of holding the grudge of Lawrie going to the first on a ball four pitch that was at least 4 inches outside and calling the next one a strike (only two inches up and 2 inches outside). The umpires are not gods and also should be held to a standard of professionalism. If Miller isn't also suspended MLB is "way off base."

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