For Brett Lawrie, his actions obviously spoke louder than any words as the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman received the bum’s rush from Friday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Lawrie, miffed over two borderline calls by home plate umpire Dan Bellino that led to his striking out in the third inning, insisted he did not utter a single word before he was ejected from the game.
After flipping his bat and then his batting helmet to the ground in the batter’s box after taking a called third strike, Lawrie turned his back on the umpire and started moving down the line toward third base.
As he was walking away, Bellino motioned toward the ground as if signalling that Lawrie was treading on dangerous turf.
And when Lawrie then proceeded to rip off both his batting gloves and throw them behind him as he continued to walk away, Bellino threw him out of the game.
“From my standpoint, the at-bat was over,” Lawrie said, his arms defiantly crossed in front of his chest as he addressed reporters after the game was over from within the clubhouse. “I flipped my bat down, I flipped my helmet down, walked to my position. And apparently you get in trouble for that.”
Lawrie said the umpire said nothing to him.
“I had no idea,” Lawrie said. “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.”
Lawrie said he was flabbergasted that he was thrown out of the game. He was soon joined by manager John Gibbons, who came out to argue with Bellino.
“When I was walking to my position and taking my batting gloves off, my only thing was that I was going to throw my batting gloves behind me so that the bat boy could come pick up my stuff and take it to the dugout,” Lawrie said. “And apparently he [Bellino] took that the wrong way and decided to throw me out. So it is what it is.”
Bellino saw things differently according to crew chief Wally Bell, who spoke to a pool reporter about the incident after the game.
“It was a called strike three, he threw down his helmet and his bat, and was given an equipment fine by the home plate umpire,” Bell said. “As he [Lawrie] walked away, in his [Bellino’s] opinion, he flipped the gloves back in a bad manner and that will get an ejection. That’s what it was. He threw them back toward Danny in a way that wasn’t etiquette in baseball and he was ejected for it.”
As for Gibbons, Bell said that when he started talking about balls and strikes he too was ejected.
“Next time he’s got to throw his gloves in the other direction, I guess,” Gibbons said.
Lawrie, of course, has a bit of a history of these things.
Last season, after getting rung up on a borderline pitch to end an inning, Lawrie exploded and fired his batting helmet into the ground so hard that it bounced up and struck home plate umpire Bill Miller on the hip.
For that Lawrie received a four-game suspension.
Lawrie was asked if he thought he was still paying for last season’s troubles.
“I don’t really think about that,” he said, his eyes blazing. “Today’s a new day.”
After the game, in which the Blue Jays lost 10-6, the American League club announced that starter Sean Nolin was being sent back down to their Double-A farm team in New Hampshire.
The 23-year-old left hander was making his Major League debut against the Orioles, and he was roughed up, allowing six runs off seven hits over 1.1-innings.
“I don’t want you leaving with any negative thoughts,” Gibbons said he told Nolin after the game. “You’ll be back.
“Some day you’ll look back and laugh at this because you’re better than that.”
From the expression on his face as he spoke with reporters, laughing appeared to be the last thing that was on the young man’s mind.
“Definitely not the way I envisioned it,” he said of his Major League debut. “I think I just had too much energy going.”