Brett Lawrie crossed the line when he threw his batting helmet at an umpire.
The Tuesday Takeaway Brett Lawrie can hit, and the 22-year-old is rapidly learning how to pick it at the hot corner. But the questions about his makeup that led the Brewers to ship him to the Blue Jays in a one-for-one deal that brought back Shaun Marcum reared their ugly heads again last night in an incident that is likely to result in a suspension.
At the plate with nobody on and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Toronto trailing Tampa Bay 4-3, Lawrie worked the count to 3-1. Then, home plate umpire Bill Miller clearly gipped him of a walk, calling a Fernando Rodney fastball that crossed the plate at least four inches outside a strike. The payoff pitch was a changeup that threatened the upper fringe of the zone but stayed an inch or so too high. Miller rang Lawrie up, and—moments later—the young third baseman seemed ready to ring the ump’s bell.
A writer who never saw Jack Morris pitch watches him in action for the first time and comes away even less convinced that the traditionalist case for his candidacy should earn him a call to Cooperstown.
A look at the first basemen on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
Having kicked off this year's JAWS series with the starting pitchers, today we turn our attention to the first basemen, a slate which includes the ballot's best newcomer as well as its most controversial first-timer, and a few holdovers who aren't going anywhere for entirely different reasons.
It is time for Major League Baseball and the MLBPA to make the new "overstuffed" batting helmets by Rawlings mandatory.
With a crack and a thud, David Wright slammed into the Citi Field turf. He had just been struck in the head by a mid-90s Matt Cain fastball, and after a few frightening moments and an unsteady walk back to the dugout, the Mets' third baseman was taken to the hospital for treatment of a concussion. Three days earlier, on August 12, 2009, David Waldstein of the New York Times asked Wright about Rawlings’ new batting helmet, one that could protect a player’s head from a 100 mph fastball. Despite other players’ negative reactions that noted an increase in discomfort and a decrease in style, Wright responded, “If it provides more protection, then I’m all for it. I’m not worried about style or looking good out there. I’m worried about keeping my melon protected.” It was a somewhat surprising response given the other players’ reactions, but it is one that seemed sound and levelheaded. Wright, however, was not wearing that helmet when the fastball crashed into his skull.
Wright’s injury could have been prevented. The risks and dangers of being hit in the head by a pitch are well-known. The solution was well-publicized. Yet Major League Baseball—its players, coaches, teams, and commissioner—continually lag behind when it comes to safety concerns. Why is this? What causes baseball to ignore the safety of its players, especially when teams invest so heavily in them, when the risks and solutions are so readily apparent? To answer these questions, it is necessary to delve deeper into an understanding of ourselves, professional sports, and societal pressures.
Issues with safety equipment come up again as some players go down hard, and others try fixes of their own.
I was going to recap the Pittsburgh event, but Shawn Hoffmanalready did that. It was a great event, and my only regret is that more people couldn't make it. Don't get me wrong, it was a great crowd with a ton of smart people asking (or answering) solid questions, but what I'd like to see at some point is a general manager willing to do what Neal Huntington did: stand in front of his team's biggest fans and toughest critics, and answer them honestly and directly. Explain your plan and what you're doing directly to the people. I'm not sure how we could do it bigger since most facilities don't have a huge secondary spot, but I'm going to challenge some team that hasn't done one of these to figure it out. How can we put a GM (and a couple other front-office guys, along the lines of Dan Fox and Kyle Stark) in front of a group of season-ticket holders? It doesn't have to be a Baseball Prospectus event, and I'm sure there are better emcees than me who'd be available, but I'll do it if they want. If your GM won't do it, ask him: Why not?