Brett Lawrie Suspension: Will Bill Miller Also Be Held Accountable?
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie and Home Plate Umpire Bob Miller had an altercation towards the conclusion of last Tuesday night’s baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays that easily could have been avoided.
Lawrie was up in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Blue Jays down a run, one out, a runner on first and a 3-1 count. Rays closer Rodney threw an outside pitch. Lawrie did not follow the unwritten rule of waiting for the umpire to make his call and began jogging to first. Miller did not like this and called strike two. The next pitch was high. Lawrie left again before waiting for the call and Miller called strike three. Being very upset, Lawrie was ejected and while yelling at Miller, he slammed his helmet on the ground, and it hit the umpire’s hip as it bounced off the turf.
Jays manager John Farell was also tossed after separating Lawrie and Miller and then letting the ump know his opinion.
This incident should have been avoided. I understand the unwritten rule of baseball and respecting the umpire’s call and game presence, but this was absolutely ridiculous. Although the Blue Jays blew a three-run lead in the game and probably would have lost if the ump granted Lawrie the walk, I agreed with Farell that Miller took the game’s outcome out of the players’ hands. Let the athletes decide the result, not the umpires. Instead of having one out with a runner on first and an opportunity to tie the game, the botched call left Toronto with 2 outs and nobody on.
I’ve also had an issue with how Major League Baseball umpires and managers conduct themselves when disputing a call. Traditionally a controversial call leads to both parties getting centimetres from each other’s faces, arguing and yelling at one another. Usually the skipper gets tossed. This arguing rarely leads to anything positive, though some will argue that a manager uses that opportunity as a way to fire up his team and show his support for his players.
Lawrie was suspended for four games, and I don’t necessarily disagree with the terms. Contacting an umpire is unprofessional and is certainly discipline-worth. But will Umpire Bob Miller get a fine, a suspension or face some type of punishment? Perhaps he should miss out on working post-season games? Watching the incident on repeat will show you that it was his pride, arrogance and lack of maturity that lead to this mess. Ultimately, those two “strikes” were off the mark, way off the mark, and in my best Bob Uecker impression, they were “…juuuuussst a bit outside.”
…and that is the last word.