Bryce Harper, Brett Lawrie and 12 Other Costly Tantrums in Baseball History
To say that Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was a little fired up on Tuesday night is akin to saying that Milton Bradley had a slight anger management issue.
Lawrie will likely be facing a suspension after throwing his batting helmet at home plate umpire Bill Miller after a very questionable called third strike in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Lawrie's outburst was certainly out of character, and could have been borne out of frustration for the Jays' play of late—last night's loss was the seventh in 10 games for the reeling Jays.
Washington Nationals young phenom Bryce Harper also displayed a bit of a temper in injuring himself late last week, and has the marks to show for it.
Harper required 10 stitches after bouncing a bat off a wall in the dugout and hitting his face.
While Harper's tantrum didn't cause him to miss any time, other tantrums in baseball have been very costly, both to players and teams.
Here are 12 such examples.
Note: Excerpts of this slideshow were taken from a previous article I submitted last July.
Milton Bradley: Sept. 23, 2007
Outfielder Milton Bradley could have made this list for several egregious outbursts, but one in particular cost himself and his team.
On September 23, 2007, during an argument with first base umpire Mike Winters, Bradley had to be physically restrained by manager Bud Black. Bradley fell to the ground while being held by Black, resulting in a torn ACL.
With Bradley’s injury, the Padres lost their Wild Card lead to the Colorado Rockies, losing in a one-game playoff at the end of the season.
Nyjer Morgan: May 22, 2010
During an interleague game with the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan allowed an inside-the-park home run to Adam Jones due to the fact that he couldn’t control his temper.
The Nationals eventually agreed and got Morgan out of town, shipping him off to the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training in 2011.
Due to MLB's complete control of its video, the play can no longer be seen on YouTube, however, his comments after the game raised an eyebrow. At one point, Morgan said, "I let my emotions get to me out there, which I normally never do."
Roberto Alomar: Sept. 27, 1996
Last year, second baseman Roberto Alomar was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame after a stellar 17-year career, during which he established himself as one of the best second basemen ever to play the game.
But on Sept. 27, 1996, Alomar decidedly lost it. Following a called third strike, Alomar got into a heated discussion with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck, during which Alomar spat in Hirschbeck’s face.
Alomar claimed he did it after Hirschbeck uttered a derogatory ethnic slur. Alomar was suspended for five games, and a week after the incident Hirschbeck said all was forgiven.
Jose Offerman: Jan. 16, 2010
While this video isn't necessarily related to MLB, it certainly cost Jose Offerman any chance of every finding work in MLB for sure.
Not to mention the fact that one would think that Offerman would have learned his lesson the first time around after an ugly incident in 2007 in the Independent Atlantic League.
This time, while managing in the Dominican Republic, Offerman, who came out to argue a call, punched first base umpire Daniel Rayburn in the face.
Offerman was booked on assault charges and taken to jail.
John McLaren: June 4, 2008
Ah, there is nothing like a good profanity-laced tirade, is there?
In this particular case, the rant comes from former Seattle Mariners manager John McLaren, who in early June 2008 decided that he was just a little sick of losing.
While McLaren's temper may not have been the primary cause, he was fired shortly after his tirade.
Ty Cobb: May 12, 1912
Hall of Fame great Ty Cobb was well-known for his spirited play, but he was equally as well-known for his inability to control his temper.
On May 15, 1912, Cobb's temper was indeed costly for a spectator. During a game in New York, Cobb was being constantly heckled by Claude Lueker, a fan attending the game. Cobb warned New York Highlanders manager Harry Wolverton that if the fan wasn’t dealt with, Cobb would deal with him personally. The Highlanders took no action.
In the sixth inning, after getting encouragement from teammates Jim Delahanty and Sam Crawford, Cobb went into the stands and proceeded to assault Lueker after he called Cobb a racial epithet. The problem was, Lueker was handicapped, having lost one hand and three fingers on another hand in an industrial accident.
When fans tried to stop Cobb by telling him Lueker was handicapped, his reply was, “I don’t care if he got no feet!”
Yeah, Cobb was a peach.
Kenny Rogers: June 30, 2005
While pitching for the Texas Rangers, Kenny Rogers decided before a game on June 30, 2005 that he didn’t want cameramen filming him.
Why this one particular cameraman got under Rogers’ skin is anyone’s guess.
Rogers' actions cost him a 20-game suspension and a $50,000 fine. Scroll to the 2:00 minute mark of the video to see Rogers' egregious actions.
Carl Everett: July 15, 2000
Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Everett actually had a pretty good season in 2000, hitting 34 home runs with 108 runs batted in and a .300 batting average.
However, on July 15, 2000, Everett did not endear himself to Red Sox fans when he decided to bump umpire Ron Kulpa and get suspended for 10 days.
A mea culpa that was not funny for Kulpa, for sure.
Lee Elia: April 29, 1983
After compiling a record of 73-89 in his first year as manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1982, Lee Elia was used to the idea of losing. What he wasn’t get used to was the apparent apathy of Chicago Cubs fans.
He let the fans know all about it on April 29, 1983.
While his tirade wasn't necessarily immediately costly, Elia was eventually dismissed. Somehow, I don't think Cubs fans were saddened by his departure.
Shawn Chacon: June 25, 2008
One thing you really don’t want to do if you want a long career in baseball is make the decision to go after your general manager. That’s exactly what Houston Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon did.
After starting the season with a 2-3 record and 5.08 ERA, Chacon was summoned to the manager’s office by manager Cecil Cooper. After refusing to go, GM Ed Wade found Chacon in the players' dining room.
Chacon again refused, words were exchanged and Chacon grabbed Wade by the neck, threw him down to the ground and pounced on top of him before finally being pulled off by teammate Reggie Abercrombie.
Chacon was immediately released and had the remainder of his $2 million contract voided. I'd say that qualifies as pretty costly.
Pedro Martinez: 2003 ALCS
This was definitely not Pedro Martinez's finest hour.
In Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, Red Sox starting pitcher Pedro Martinez plunked Yankee Karim Garcia in the top of the fifth up near the shoulder.
The hit batsman prompted an argument between Martinez and the Yankees bench, with Martinez pointing at Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and then gesturing to the side of his head.
Many, including Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer, interpreted Martinez’ gesture as an indication he intended to throw a beanball.
In the bottom half of the inning, Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez took a high strike from Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and flipped out, causing both benches to clear. In the ensuing melee, Zimmer, 72 years of age at the time, went after Martinez, who sidestepped Zimmer and threw him down to the ground.
Brett Lawrie: May 15, 2012
For anyone watching this game on Tuesday night, Brett Lawrie was certainly justified in being upset at the calls of home plate umpire Bill Miller.
Lawrie took a 3-1 pitch from Rays closer Fernando Rodney and started trotting to first base, only to have to come back to the plate after a delayed strike call by Miller. Not sure where Miller thought that ball was, but it seemed to be clearly wide of the zone.
Miller's next call was even more egregious, ringing Lawrie up on a pitch that was almost at eye-level, prompting Lawrie's tirade.
While MLB will likely suspend Lawrie for his actions, how about reviewing Miller's call as well? It sure seemed to be a retaliatory call based on Lawrie's actions on the previous pitch.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.