A Battle Of Perspectives

In the top of the eighth inning of tonight’s 8-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was called out on a controversial base running play.

MLB’s official rule 7.02 states the following:

In advancing, a runner shall touch first, second, third and home base in order. If forced to return, he shall retouch all bases in reverse order.

A runner is “forced to return” when a fly ball that is in the air is caught by a fielder on an opposing team. Such was the case tonight when Lawrie, already on first base, advanced to second on Yan Gomes fly ball while it was still in the air. Once it was caught by B.J. Upton in center field, Lawrie went back to first base.

He didn’t touch second base on his way back because he claims he didn’t leave the base in the direction of third base:

But as umpire Rob Drake saw things, he most certainly did advance to third before heading back to first base without touching the bag at second:

Lawrie failed to make friends once again with the umpiring crew, two days after returning from a suspension for the last time he aggressively questioned a decision. Things were moderate by comparison this time as his helmet stayed on his head after the energetic player jogged a dozen or so feet in the umpire’s direction to ask why he was called out.

According to Lawrie in the post game scrum, “Don’t argue,” was the only response that Drake would offer. Perhaps, in addition to not invading an umpire’s space, Lawrie would also be better served by not knocking them out of the game with foul balls either.

Although, watching that second GIF again, I don’t know what possible defense he could’ve offered to justify what was ultimately his base running error.

Comments (74)

  1. I look forward to the next interesting thing that happens in a Blue Jays game, as I will then be spared the agony of seeing nothing but “Right call”, “Wrong call” on my twitter feed ad infinitum.

  2. Both of these perpectives are bad. You need the view from home plate rahther than the view from the two foul lines.

    But who cares, we know that Lawrie is going to wear his blow up for a long time. To bad he didn’t drink and drive, all would be forgotten by now.

  3. Look at that, a Lawrie article where you don’t trash him with insults. Well done, Stoeten.

    • If only it was Stoeten writing it.

      • This is even more surprising.

        • I like that any criticism of Lawrie is met with “OMG HATER LOL” rather than people accepting that maybe, just maybe, he’s capable of being wrong occasionally.

          Lawrie’s a great player, but he’s pretty clearly a hothead. Some of that will improve with time, but he can’t be beyond criticism, even at his age/experience.

          • I’m more than ok with Lawrie criticism. That’s not the issue at all. The problem I have is that some people on here cant separate criticism from insults. And in previous posts Parkes and Stoeten have been guilty of that… repeatedly.

    • Kyle, being snarky and overly critical is just the hipster way and we’ll just have to deal with it until being a hipster is no longer en vogue. Considering most of the content/writing on this blog is excellent I can live with that.

  4. I did good this time. diidnt say bad names about Lawrie.

    • Wow, Parkes… For some reason it seems like you can barely string a sentence together. It’s almost like this is some other assclown using your name. Strange, no?

  5. That’s a terrible call. Obviously he was close enough to the base to not even think about calling a player out like that.

    They can call that but not the rule book strikezone or enforce the pitch clock, bah- give me robot umps (I have previously never been in favor of robot umps, but now my position has changed).

  6. Are umps just going to shit on Lawrie for the rest of his career now?

  7. are we going to dissect all of lawries misplays moving forward?

  8. I heard an anecdote about Larry Walker once, just after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Expos, doing the same thing about halfway between second and third. His excuse?: He’d never actually played baseball before, just fast pitch.

    • The version of the Larry Walker story I’d heard, he’d run from first to third on a flyout and when he realized the ball was caught he ran across the diamond over the pitcher’s mound to get back to first base.

  9. The call was close enough to go either way, and I wouldn’t blame Lawrie for the play, but it’s going to get very annoying very quickly if the umpires keep up with their Lawrie-hating. Since he’s gotten back from the suspension, every borderline call has gone against him. And asking the ump what happened, to get a response of “Don’t argue”? I’m surprised he kept his helmet on…

  10. all the heat lawrie gets is all on himself. if he didn’t show up the umpire last week the suspension never happens. if he steps on the bag he doesn’t get called out. he doesn’t seem to get that he’s the one who’s wrong. same thing when he stole home and was out. all his antics are getting very tiresome. and I’m getting the feeling that farrell’s patience is going to wear thin. more stunts like this and gets a one way ticket to vegas for some behavioural modification.

    • I think a lot of players would’ve been confused there and thought they were safe. That’s a legitimate play to inquire about in my opinion anyway.

      Then again, I don’t know how he approached the umpire. Could’ve been swearing like a DJF.

    • I just can’t help but wonder if lawrie reminds drew and Dustin of a kid that beat them up in high school? I don’t think there’s any doubt that someone did at this point. Between them there whiny commentary is insufferable, I liked djf alot better when they kept too the getting blanked page.. kudos to stoeten though for not simply agreeing with everything those two have say. this call isn’t the issue it’s the fact that you are just looking for an excuse to blast lawrie that is.

      • What “whiny commentary” are you thinking of? Does it occur in the same made-up universe where jocks beat up nerds in high school? What role would you play in this two dimensional world you concocted? The jock sniffing manager of the hockey team, dutifully carrying the water bottles?

        Grow the fuck up. What part of the post on which you are commenting “blasts” Lawrie? He made a base running error in a pivotal moment in the game so Parkes wrote a post about it. What makes Brett Lawrie beyond reproach? Why is anything that isn’t a full-on ball washing “blasting?”

      • Drew hate? That’s something new.

    • I agree with you that Lawrie seems to take little ownership for his mistakes but I doubt a demotion is in the works. When the Jays traded for this guy, they knew what they were getting and I think they will continue take the good with the bad.

    • I don’t agree at all about the “showing up the umpire” part. The pitch was way outside and the strike call was REALLY late, so he started jogging to first thinking it was ball four.

  11. Sorry boys, I saw him make intent to run toward third, and if you do so, then you have to touch second on the way back.

    Lawrie still needs some guidance from coaching though, in when to back down from making his point. Arguing is up to the coaches. I could almost read the lips from the ump such as to say, back off young fucker and learn to take a tough call.

    • Arguing should be up to the coaches. I retract the statement I just made, like an idiot, to the comment about this one. Fuck I’m dumb.

      Lawrie had a right to disagree with the call, even though it was right. Just leave it to Farrel to argue it. Maybe he’ll get a 4 game suspension…it’d make a few people on here pretty happy.

      • For fuck’s sake. That should read “to the comment *above* this one”, not about. I expect the appropriate amount of ridicule. You people deserve better.

  12. As one of Parkes’ biggest critics, I gotta say…

    Well written post by Parkes.No baiting,no trolling,well presented facts,non douchey,non condescending.

    As for Lawrie.What I’ve been taught, as an umpire, ANY move by a player towards third should be seen as the runner advancing to the next base.He should’ve retouched second.
    It’s like over running first. We teach to overrun to the foul side so there’s no indecision about the intent of the runner.If the runner makes any attempt to advance to second after overunning first then he live and can be tagged out.
    Lawrie was wrong to argue.
    Good call by the umpire.

    • “he live and can be tagged out”
      he is live and can be tagged out.

      Fuck this no edit shit.

      I don’t get how the rest of the Score uses disqus but the blogs use something else.

      It’s bullshit.I don’t like it.And I’m gonna whine about it.Cause I’m old and it’s what I do.
      Fuck it.Rant over.

    • May be true, but pay attention to the next game you watch and see how many players overrun to the foul side of first.

      • It’s true not maybe true. I debated whether to go into great detail about over running first but figured I’d bore the shit out of everyone reading this.
        If reqested, I can explain the differences in what an umpire looks for when making a decision on exactly when the runner is trying to advance a base and when they are not. When they can be tagged out or not.It’s not as simple as an inturn or outturn on the line, although some think it is.

  13. No one can deny that this was a close call. Close enough that I would wager chances are something so minute would not get called against someone like Derek Jeter. It’s a very rare call to be made and I can’t help but think that the player involved played a role in the ump’s decision.

    I could completely understand the call if Lawrie showed clear intent that he was going to head towards the next base, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. At the absolute worst he extended one of his legs over into the direction of the next base while his other was planted very close to the bag, after this he short of shuffled back. His right leg just barely ever left the bag before he turned to head back to first base. It just wasn’t clear and in such a situation I think the ump should reserve judgement.

    Given that quite a few rules are not called exactly as they are written (I can think of many instances where a double plays are called when the defensive player at second never even touched the base with his foot), I think that Lawrie got squeezed by the umps here.

    The good news is that Lawrie will learn from mistakes like this and hopefully avoid them in the future. The bad news is that the umpires seem to be unwilling to give him any leeway. If the game is going to be called strictly to the letter of the rule (which even in this case, it is somewhat hard to determine what constitutes heading to the next bag means), I would like to see more calls being made electronically to avoid any kind of favouritism towards veterans, which is just absolute bull shit.

  14. I think Brett needs to show a little more respect, which will in turn garner HIM more respect. If instead of sprinting towards the umpire yelling and swearing, he jogged lightly towards him silently, and then said “can you tell me what happened there?” in a civilized way, the umpire may have been willing to give him an explanation. I’m not trying to defend the umps here; truly these officials are made of far thinner skin than many other pro-sports officials, especially hockey refs, but Lawrie is currently in the dog-house, and regardless of whether or not he likes it, the onus isn’t on the umps to change – it’s on HIM to change.

    Dealing with umps is like a dealing with a pissed off wife – even if he were right (in this case he was wrong) he still needs to suck it up for a bit and get back in the good books. It doesn’t mean he has to be completely silent, but he has to be respectful. Whether he likes it or not, he’s married to 40 pissed off women right now, and he has to do what he can to get things back to even. Constructively discussing a call with an ump – not yelling at him – would be helpful.

    And now, the umpire. I hate seeing these guys pointing at players and basically challenging them to do something. In this case, telling a guy that you know has a short fuse “don’t argue” is basically baiting him to flip his lid. And who knows – maybe the umps feel that that 4-game suspension was too short, and that the brevity of it was a sly way of MLB saying that while stupid, Lawrie losing his shit was somewhat justified by an inept and vindictive decision on the part of the umpire. Therefore, maybe the umps feel that they’ll exercise their own brand of justice, and if that means working Lawrie into an absolute rage-fueled tantrum by doing things like waving him off, so be it.

    I know it’ll be tough for a guy like Lawrie, but he needs to think of the greater good right now.

    • “Dealing with umps is like a dealing with a pissed off wife ”

      They are supposed to be impartial arbiters of the law of baseball. All this soap opera about how you have to bow and dance before them just shows how silly the whole thing is. Lawrie’s behaviour to umps should only matter when he (a) rightfully gets suspended for crossing a line and (b) doesn’t get invited to the umpire’s annual picnic. Beyond that he is under no obligation to pussyfoot around ump’s feelings.

  15. Didn’t look like Farrell was too pleased with Lawrie when he got to the dugout. Nor was Lawrie willing to shut the fuck up when his skipper was talking to him. Bautista had to hold him back and to repeat the shut the fuck up mantra.

    Umpires are a close knit brethen. They talk shop like any other profession. Lawrie’s antics have been discussed. Some umpires don’t give a fuck and will do their job and go home. Others might want to shove it to Lawrie by giving him the shitty end of the stick with some tough calls. On this play, the right call was made. At least Lawrie didn’t throw his helmet.

  16. Hope Lawrie keeps it going, and maybe attendence will go up for home games. Roger Clemmens couldn’t get fans to come, but maybe Lawrie can. How’s this sound ‘Seattle Mariners and the Umpire Bretheren vs the Toronto Blue Jays and the angry Brett Lawrie. Hey is Parkes holding an angry Stoeten back?

  17. Andrew you say I’m circling on the Lawrie thing:

    “sons, you’re circling. At first Lawrie was just standing up for himself against a bully and we should leave it alone, now it’s that they’ve both moved on and we should leave it alone.”

    Those points both end with the same conclusion so I’m not sure what is circling about it. I have no defence for Lawrie’s action (not plural, it was the helmet toss and nothing else that was different than what happens every week in baseball). But the fact that again we have a full post on Lawrie just shows how meme-ified this has become for this blog. Yes you guys are impartial, no homerism, congrats. Really though, the guy got a suspension and maybe learned a lesson. Maybe he didn’t. Who cares. Umps better call things fairly for him either way.

    I’m not trolling here. If I didn’t like this blog I would just ignore it like I ignore 90% of the moronic baseball writing that seeks to produce Hollywood level narratives out of every tidbit that we only see from a distance.

  18. neh, Lawrie is gonna have to show more restraint when asking for help. or even just talk to a coach first…

  19. I love how Parkes is the designated Lawrie critic. The only DJF’s articles he writes are about Lawrie. He jumps all over that shit. Stick to writing about sabermatics and the glory of the Giants and the NL over at GB Parkes, no one wants to hear your snarky Jays comments, a team clearly below you and your fine baseball tastes.

    • I wish he would stick to GB too and quit crying about the jays all the time, but the constant complaining about him is almost as annoying.

      If we stop feeding the troll maybe it will go away.

    • Don’t be unfair. Parkes wrote this one straight. My question is how could he have written this post when he had a PROPHATE PUNISHMENT TO WATCH????

  20. “Although, watching that second GIF again, I don’t know what possible defense he could’ve offered to justify what was ultimately his base running error”

    Really?? The ump’s call is certainly justifiable from the angle he saw it at, but as is the argument that lawrie didn’t attempt to advance to 3rd base. He hopped up and took one step off the base. That was a judgment call that could have gone either way (read the rule, it clearly says “advance” not merely “departs from the base”). There’s a reason that the rule is not as explicit as it could be. Arguably for Lawrie there, having to step back on the base would have been risking an ankle injury. The ump should give the runner a bit of lee-way there just as they do on the phantom double play bag touch.

  21. Lawrie has a lot of growing up to do. The umps don’t owe him perfect calls every time there’s a questionable play, and pissing them off isn’t going to make the questionable calls go his way too often. Yeah he’s a hot-head, and he has the potential to be a great player. But there needs to be some seasoning there otherwise he’ll just flame out in a cloud of cusses and thrown helmets. Passionate player=good. Entitled asshole=bad. And Lawrie is beginning to veer ever so slightly towards the latter…

    • I agree that he needs to grow up, but I don’t think it really has anything to do with entitlement. Lawrie really just needs to control his emotions and to walk away from an umpire confrontation. He can get as pissed off as he wants, and if an ump gets a call wrong, he should get pissed off, but he can’t be getting in the umpire’s face every time.

      This was a questionable call, but that was it. His sprinting towards the umpire shows a lack of control of his emotions, not entitlement. Last week’s shenanigans were entirely different. That was a blatant case of bad umpiring from the strikes themselves to the delayed call which was clearly an attempt by the umpire to send a message. To me, that’s one of the few times where it is acceptable for a player to get so emotional that they get in an umpire’s face (the helmet throw was obviously incredibly stupid). Last night was definitely not one of those cases and he should have just walked away, or as calmly as possible get an explanation from the ump.

      Lawrie’s going to be walking a fine line with umpires after last week’s incident. The coaching staff and veterans really need to drill it in lawrie’s head that he can’t get in an umpire’s face after every questionable call. Realistically, they’re not going to be able to tone down his emotion, but if they can channel it such that he is not confronting the umps, it will all blow over.

      • You’re right in that he doesn’t display a sense of entitlement…yet. But that’s how it may be perceived among the umpire community. And it won’t help him. I get that he plays balls-out and I’m pleased he displays emotion. I’d rather that then the passive little smirk seen on Alex’ Rios’s face on various occasions. But he really really needs to rein it in. Starting now.

  22. Lawrie was wrong last night and needs to quit doing this. BUT at the same time – umpires need to a little bit more fucking humble IMO. I mean, it should be their responsibility to at least explain what they saw and the reasoning for making a given call rather than retaliating at a player and being emo themselves. You don’t see officials in any other sports acting this childish.

  23. In other news, bloggers (and the Jays organization) are capitalizing on absolutely anything Brett Lawrie does.

  24. According to Shi, Drew Sutton, yes he of the career OPS+ of 96 in 182 career ABs over 4 seasons, is hitting cleanup today.

    Sutton was purchased by the Pirates from the Braves 3 days ago, and then purchased by the Rays from the Pirates the very next day.

    If Lind can go from clean-up for a +.500 team to AAA in 3 days, Sutton can go from the scrap heap of 2 teams (including one historically sorry offense) to clean-up for a +.500 team in 3 days.

    Could also be Maddon openly trolling Romero after Ricky seemed to take offense to the “I’d have 9 LH bats against Romero, if I could” comment. If Sutton bats from the left side, I’d call it trolling.

  25. This is Lawrie’s fault for sliding into the bag at all. He could have held up or turn around the base. Then what needed to be done would be obvious.

  26. I said it last week and here it is again. You can tell when an umpire is doing a good job when you don’t notice him doing it. Lawrie needs to get over his shit and guess what the umps need to get over their shit too. Lawrie needs to grow up a bit and be more of a professional, but aren’t the umps getting paid fairly well? I don’t think they are getting paid to police the players and stand behind some grey ump wall of solidarity, they need to let the calls speak for themselves just as Lawrie needs to let his talent speak for itself. If this starts to be a big stupid narrative all year long everyone will look like a spoiled child with egg on their face who lets their emotions get in the way of doing their job and that includes the umps too.

  27. Some people here are of the opinion that it was a close play, or a judgment call. It wasn’t! It was the right call, and I for one am glad when, in any sport, they follow the rules. I love the game of basketball but can’t bear to watch it at the nba level anymore for that exact reason. I understand balls and strikes will always be somewhat subjective, but that is understood. When the rules (or strike zone) is called vastly different for one player to the next…that’s when I’ll start following cricket (after I learn how the heck the game is actually played). He turned his body…Brett’s my second favourite Jay…but HE TURNED HIS BODY!!!

  28. I’m getting pretty fucking sick of the asinine derek jeter, or red sox comps everybody’s been throwing around “if it were jeter it would have been a ball” or “they don’t call lawrie out at fenway if he’s a red sox”(ck? aside: what’s the fucking singular of red sox? ah yes. douchebag)
    Guess what folks: he’s not Derek Fucking Jeter. And he’s not a member of that fucking team from Boston. Both things for which I am glad, as I prefer the high-energy (occasionally impulsive) young cannon we have at third.
    That being said.
    Jeter, and most of the other Yankees, as well as that elderly lineup from boston, are mostly made up of veterans with long enough careers in the majors that they
    a)have previous relationships with most umpiring crews
    b)are old enough to control their passion (personally, I prefer the use of the BP approved term “WANT” over passion. Want: the rarely graded 6th tool) in volatile situations
    c)recognize that umps are human, deal with the same grinding schedules they do (for waaaaaaaaaaay less fucking money) and are put in the difficult position of trying to essentially control a bunch of spoiled rich kids who have (in many players, especially the North American kids, cases) never had to deal with any kind of real world adversity that they didn’t have 15 coaches/agents/overprotective-parents nursing them through.
    d)realize that, much like dealing with a traffic cop who gets you going 12 over the speed limit, if you simply ask “what did I do?” respectfully and move on, you’re less likely to have him notice the dead hookers in your trunk. or maybe that’s just Jose Canseco’s last weekend in Vegas. but I digress.
    Don’t get me wrong. I fucking love seeing Lawrie hurdle seven teammates on his way to home plate after a homerun (and will continue to do so as long as he doesn’t kill anyone, especially himself), and I think seeing Joey Bats gear up with a seat cushion to protect himself from Lawrie High fives is hilarious. But arguing with umps is pointless, stupid, and hurts both him and the team. It’s a manager’s job to bite that bullet when necessary, and the manager is supposed to be the one mature and seasoned enough to see when it is warranted and helpful. All Brett’s doing is giving himself a reputation as a whiny, entitled crybaby (which is not deserved, but is his own damn fault, because people remember one or two negative impressions for more strongly and longer than positive ones.)
    A real pro would take his fucking medicine, sit down and take his aggression out on the baseball (which he certainly has NOT been doing lately)… or like harper did when hamels plunked him, and steal home or some ridiculous shit like that. Show up the ump by proving to him you’re a pro, not by proving to him that he’s right. It’s cost the team 4 games of his services, both he and his manager a good chunk of cash, and set him up to take a lot of shit from umps as his career moves forward.
    But what the fuck, we got to be entertained by rage without having to watch wrestling, and an excuse to hate on people whose blogs we read on a daily basis, right? Totally fucking (insert snarky fucking hipster sarcastic tone in your douchebag brains here) worth it.

  29. christ I didn’t realize as I was typing that rant that it was getting longer than the post I was commenting on. Fuck quitting smoking. so much Lawrie (Lawrie being synonymous with inarticulate, illogical rage)

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