Memorable baseball meltdowns
From Lawrie's helmet tossing to Brett's pine tar outburst
Brett Lawrie has had his share of rough series this season, particularly at the plate, though he did manage to raise his batting average to .199 following a 5-for-14 weekend against Baltimore.
But the decent display of hitting probably isn’t what Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, Lawrie’s teammates and thousands of fans will remember most about the weekend.
They’ll remember the 23-year-old native of Langley, B.C., flipping his bat and then his helmet to the ground after taking a called third strike in the third inning Friday night. They’ll remember Lawrie ripping off his batting gloves and throwing them behind him as he walked away from home plate umpire Dan Bellino, who ejected him from the game.
And they’ll remember on Sunday when Lawrie walked toward the Jays dugout and yelled at third base coach Luis Rivera and teammate Adam Lind after hitting a routine fly ball to right-field in the ninth inning with Toronto trailing 5-3. Rivera held Lind, who is not fleet of foot, at third on the play, but Lawrie disagreed with the call.
And he wasn't done there. Once in the dugout, Lawrie aired his displeasure with Gibbons, who gave the youngster an earful.
The hope, by many, was that Lawrie had learned from a tirade last season when he exploded after being rung up on a borderline pitch to end an inning. In that incident, Lawrie threw his helmet to the ground, only to have it bounce up and strike home plate umpire Bill Miller on the hip, and was subsequently suspended for four games.
That outburst, which is highlighted below, is one of the more memorable meltdowns by a major leaguer. Below are some others to refresh your memory.
On July 23, 1983, Kansas City Royals all-star third baseman George Brett took New York reliever Rich "Goose" Gossage deep over the right-field fence at Yankee Stadium for a two-run home run to give Kansas City a 5-4 lead.
But Yankees manager Billy Martin questioned the amount of pine tar on Brett’s bat, believing it was more than 18 inches, the most allowed by major league rules. After conferring with his fellow umpires, home plate ump Tim McClelland walked toward the Royals dugout and signalled Brett out to give the Yankees a 4-3 win. Brett burst out of the dugout and … watch the video below to see the rest.
There was enough of a buzz with the 2000 World Series pitting New Yorkers against one another, but it reached a new level when Mets catcher Mike Piazza made contact on an inside fastball from the Yankees’ Roger Clemens.
Piazza’s bat shattered and the barrel flew towards the mound, where Clemens picked it up and flung it towards Piazza, later claiming he thought the bat was the baseball.
Retired major league outfielder Milton Bradley didn’t always go down quietly when it came to a difference in opinion with home plate umpires over balls and strikes. Bradley was suspended for "reckless and inappropriate conduct" after being ejected in a 2004 game while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons had seen enough during an August 2006 game versus Oakland when he went to the mound for a second time to pull left-handed starter Ted Lilly.
Lilly had allowed the A’s to score seven runs to close to within 8-7 of Toronto but refused to give the ball to Gibbons, who later confronted the pitcher in the dugout tunnel.