Blue Jays: Top 5 Brett Lawrie Overreactions
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Brett Lawrie, that athletic, ultra-skilled, ultra-competitive phenom for the Toronto Blue Jays—who just happened to be batting .209 at the time of his latest injury—will quite possibly be patrolling the left side of the diamond for the club's AAA franchise in Buffalo in the coming weeks.
As was reported in the National Post, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is now claiming that the controversial Jays infielder will likely be away from the team much longer than originally anticipated. Lawrie's road back could include a rehab stint in the minor leagues.
The play that led to Lawrie's most recent injury was another in the series of bizarre moments that have many Toronto fans shaking their heads at a player who once was considered a blue-chip prospect.
Lawrie's ankle was caught awkwardly in a slide into second-base during a May 27 home game against the Baltimore Orioles. Although training staff immediately attended to Lawrie during a break in play, he stubbornly refused to leave the field. He preferred to hobble into third base on the subsequent at bat, potentially making the injury worse.
(Make sure to check our concluding slide for the complete video)
He was immediately yanked from the game by Blue Jays Head Coach John Gibbons.
Whether Lawrie's refusal to immediately leave the game has contributed to his now extended layoff is unclear, but it would not be the first time Blue Jays fans have been baffled by some of their third baseman's actions.
With all of Major League Baseball now lacking regular infusions of controversial Brett Lawrie content, we thought we could fill the gap with a look back at some of the young Canadian's antics.
Here now, in no particular order, are our top five Brett Lawrie overreactions.
1. Brett Lawrie vs. Umpires
On May 15, 2012, Brett Lawrie endured some highly questionable strike calls from home-plate umpire Bill Miller, during a Blue Jays home game against Tampa Bay.
Upon finally being called out on yet another questionable strike, Lawrie turned and exploded in anger. By the time Lawrie had taken his second step towards the umpire, his helmet was already making its way up towards Miller's midsection, as a result where the infuriated third baseman had launched it off the ground.
Despite the early intervention of, then Blue Jays Manager, John Farrell, the damage had been done.
For an overreaction that is sure to live on in baseball history for some time, Lawrie was suspended for four games by the MLB offices.
The following day, Lawrie spoke to Canada's The Score television network and claimed the following:
Obviously, we are going to appeal it. For the record, I feel as though I have the right to explain my side of the story about what happened last night...The only thing I regret is the helmet hitting him.
For the record, Lawre put his own emotional reactions above the needs of his team and teammates.
It would not be the last time.
Nearly one year later, on May 24, 2013, Lawrie was once again thrown out of a home game, this time by home plate umpire Dan Bellino, for a breach of baseball etiquette.
That incident—in which the Canadian was tossed for throwing his equipment—seemed shocking to Lawrie, as he spoke to Toronto's Globe and Mail after the game.
I flipped my bat down, I flipped my helmet down, walked to my position. And apparently you get in trouble for that. I had no idea. He threw me out, and apparently he warned me.
He gave me a warning, once I watched it on the replay, when I flipped my bat down, when I flipped my helmet down, right there and I didn’t do anything. Just what you guys saw is what happened. I didn’t do anything, I didn’t say one word to him, not one. Didn’t look at him one time. And I’m in trouble for that.
Major League fans and the highlight reels may remember Lawrie's 2012 tantrum for a long time; however, it seems that Major League umpires may have chosen to remember it as well.
2. Brett Lawrie vs. Teammates
Lawrie's aggression can sometimes be aimed at his own teammates.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
A player of Brett Lawrie's intensity is bound to throw the occasional tantrum in the club house from time to time; however, when those moments spill out on to the bright lights of the playing field, it becomes a much bigger problem.
During a May 26 home game against Baltimore—just days after his more recent ejection—Lawrie found himself up in the bottom of the ninth, with no outs and a runner on third.
Lawrie successfully launched a deep fly ball to right field, which was caught on the run by the strong-throwing Nick Markakis. Blue Jays' third base coach Luis Rivera held Adam Lind at third, choosing not to test the arm of Markakis and attempt to score a needed run.
After rounding first base, Lawrie began a long, slow walk back to the Blue Jays dugout, pausing several times to stare at both Lind and Rivera for their decision to be so conservative on the base paths.
Upon reaching his team's dugout Lawrie managed a single shout in the direction of third base, before Blue Jays manager John Gibbons blew up at him. Gibbons issued a vehement tongue lashing to Lawrie, and the two were quickly separated by Jose Bautista, who himself had several choice words to the Jays infielder.
Lawrie later apologized to his club, but his antics will not easily be forgotten by baseball traditionalists, who frown on such negative displays towards teammates in public.
3. Brett Lawrie vs. Mexico
Lawrie was on the Team Canada bench for this brawl v Mexico
As one of Canada's best young talents, Brett Lawrie prepared to try and help lead his country out of the first round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Sadly for a Canada squad that had legitimate hopes of advancing, Lawrie was struck down with a rib injury just days before the start of the tournament.
Undaunted, Lawrie remained with the Canada team, dressed, and was on the bench for each of their three pool games.
Canada went on to drop their first match against a surprising Italian team, before heading into a must-win game against Mexico.
The rules of the tournament stated that, in the event of a tie in the standings, the team with the greatest run differential would advance. It was with that in mind that catcher Chris Robinson stepped to the plate for Canada and laid a perfect bunt down the third-base line.
Team Canada was determined to collect all the runs it could in order to maximize its chances of advancing.
The next two throws from Mexico's pitcher just missed the Canada player, before finally hitting him in the back with the following pitch.
Lawrie, having been on the Canadian bench all along, helped lead the Canadian charge on to the field, and can clearly be seen in his red Canada jacket during the early moments of the brawl.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was asked by Canada's SportsNet Television the following day, if he was relieved that Lawrie had not been seriously involved in the scuffle.
Gibbons replied: "Are you sure he wasn't? He might have been there somehow."
4. Brett Lawrie vs. The Twitterverse
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
The Blue Jays have not lived up to expectations this season, and while that probably grates on every member of the ball club, Lawrie once again let his emotions boil over on May 9, 2013.
This time, however, Lawrie had a new target in mind—sports fans on Twitter.
Lashing out at his critics after two straight defeats to Tampa Bay on May 8 and 9, Lawire tweeted:
“All u people who chirp when things don’t go good have never done anything in pro sport .. Ever .. So shut ur mouths #LetsGetThisThingg #jays”
When the Twitterverse predictably exploded at Lawrie's comments, former Blue Jay catcher and current Toronto baseball analyst Greg Zaun when so far as to suggest that Laurie delete his Twitter account.
Zaun told Toronto's SportsNet radio the following:
My advice to any active player out there would be ‘get rid of your Twitter if you haven’t already. Why does a guy like Brett Lawrie need a Twitter handle? Why does he need a Twitter account? I have absolutely zero idea. Do your talking on the field with your play and that’s it.
“@greggzaun I should get off twitter? .. I’ll do wat I want actually .. #TakeCareNow.”
"@greggzaun It's not a problem .. People r entitled to say what they wanna say .. So am I"
Although many of Lawrie's tweets were speedily deleted, they were captured and reported in the Toronto media; including by SportsNet, Zaun's employer.
Aside from the completely foreseeable media sideshow that was created, Lawrie apparently forgot the basic rules of free speech, about which he was so quick to lecture Zaun.
Brett Lawrie, regardless of how poor a choice it might be for his career, is indeed entitled to say whatever he wants at any time—but so too are Major League Baseball's fans.
Lawrie may want to remember that the next time he is tempted to take on the Twitterverse and tell sports fans to shut their mouths.
Like his battle with major league umpires, this would seem to be a fight he is unlikely to win.
5. Brett Lawrie vs. A Camera Well
On July 18, 2012, two months after his infamous helmet-throwing incident, Lawrie pursued a fly ball down the third-base line during a rain-shortened 6-0 loss to New York at Yankees Stadium.
Falling more than six feet to the ground, Lawrie saw his leg cartwheel into a steel railing at high speed, before plummeting to the concrete floor.
Visibly in pain, the over-enthusiastic third baseman was removed from the game and helped back to the dressing room. The injury once again put him out of the Blue Jays lineup.
To make matters worse, Lawrie dropped the ball.
This heroic overreaction, in a game already well out of reach, rounds out our Bleacher Report run down of Brett Lawrie's most infamous moments.
But we're not done yet.
Brett Lawrie: The End?
A player as intense as Lawrie will always make the highlights, good or bad.
To end where we began and complete the Brett Lawrie circle, we would like to leave you with this video, capturing his most recent injury, and his seemingly bizarre decision to remain in the game.
Perhaps, as he works his way through his latest rehab assignment, Lawrie will try to work on rehabbing his image as well. The Blue Jays will be desperately hoping he can.
Whether or not he will be able to is something for you to decide.
Use the forum below to let your thoughts be known about Brett Lawrie and his future prospects.
With moments like these, the debate over Brett Lawrie will surely be continuing for some time.
Jeff Hull is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
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