As only an occasional fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, I'm not sure I'm entitled to weigh in on the Brett Lawrie suspension and the team's reaction to it. But I will anyway.
Lawrie received a four-game suspension from the League for first arguing strike calls with home plate umpire Bill Miller and then, in a fit of frustration, throwing his helmet in Miller's direction, resulting in the helmet bouncing up and striking the Ump.
First, I can understand why Lawrie was frustrated. If the 3-1 pitch Miller called a strike was close enough for argument, the 3-2 pitch wasn't. The pitch wasn't even close. Miller clearly called that a strike to punish Lawrie for showing him up by anticipating the call and starting his walk trot to first. Twice.
So I think it behooves the League to look into Miller's decision-making in the situation. Umpires are supposed to be objective in their calls. If we can't trust them at least to try to call a pitch correctly, no matter what the behaviour of one of the players, how can we trust them to make a close call at home in the seventh game of the world series fairly? Miller was wrong and that needs to be addressed.
Second, however, I don't care how wrong Miller was, Lawrie has got to control himself in that situation. He's hurt his team with his reaction and he's embarassed himself. I don't buy the argument that he's a pssionate guy so his response is forgiveable: even passionate players have to park their emotions for the sake of their team sometimes.
And third, the Toronto management needs to get a little bit of backbone too. Don't go hug your player and tell him you're okay with what he did. Lawrie was wrong and he should be told, by his manager and the team's GM, that he was wrong. They should be mentoring him on better ways to channel his emotions, not defending him to the media.
From what I've seen, Lawrie is an asset as a player. He just needs to make sure he learns from this and becomes an asset as a teammate as well. And John Farrell has to recognise his responsibilities a manager of the team too.