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.