Hey Brett Lawrie, what did you think of that called third strike?
Yeah, I’m guessing you’re going to get suspended, son.
Yes, the ump made two bad calls during that at bat — check out the plots of pitches 5 and 6 here — but worse calls are made every day and that’s no excuse for erupting like that. The helmet throw was just disciplinary icing on a temper tantrum cake that MLB is not going to take kindly to. Here’s umpire Bill Miller’s statement:
“Upon seeing that he was ejected, he took several steps toward me and fired his helmet. It hit me in the right hip. That’s a bit extreme.”
For his part, Lawrie said he didn’t mean it:
“That was not my intention at all,” Lawrie said of striking Miller with his helmet. “I’ve never, ever, done anything to go at an umpire before in my life, and I didn’t mean to tonight. I apologize for that. It just kind of took an unlucky bounce and I think it got him, so my apologies for that.”
Not that I think that, or the fact that he was arguing bad call, will or should help him here. Gotta keep your cool better than that.
Oh, and one Blue Jays fan was pretty classy too:
… a disgruntled fan in the stands at Rogers Centre tossed a mostly full cup of beer and hit Miller in the right shoulder as he walked off the field.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.