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Lawrie joins list of baseball’s wildest rants
Helmet tossing and bat banging have become all the rage, it seems. Yet suspended Toronto infielder Brett Lawrie and injured Washington teen phenom Bryce Harper still have a long way to go before hitting our list of baseball’s wildest rants and raves.
These guys all rank:
Has a player ever looked more crazed on a ballfield than Mr. Pine Tar? Seriously, ever? Arms waving, eyes bulging and screaming with every step, the Royals star charged from the Yankee Stadium dugout after umpire Tim McClelland called him out in 1983. It took other umpires, teammates and even opponents to settle down Brett, and nearly a month to officially finish the game. Almost 30 years later, it might be the most-replayed meltdown ever. “I went a little ballistic,” he said.
LOU PINIELLA: He earned his place forever when he went batty _ make that baggy _ in 1990 while managing the Reds. Upset by a call at first base, he flung his hat at umpire Dutch Rennert’s feet and was ejected. Not-so-Sweet Lou then picked up first base and tossed it into the infield. Not completely satisfied, Piniella grabbed the bag again and threw it into right field. “Some guys were saying they should make it a new Olympic sport,” Cincinnati first baseman Hal Morris said at the time.
BILLY MARTIN VS. REGGIE JACKSON: The Bronx Zoo at its best, circa 1977. Upset after he thought Jackson loafed for a fly ball, Martin tried to embarrass the famed outfielder by pulling him in the middle of an inning. At Fenway Park, no less, during a nationally televised game, when national TV was something special. Martin was waiting for Jackson in the dugout, jaw clenched, looking ready to tangle. Jackson stood with his arms apart as Martin fumed, and they avoided coming to blows.
ROGER CLEMENS VS. MIKE PIAZZA: The Rocket had beaned Piazza three months earlier and tension was high at Yankee Stadium as they faced each in the first inning in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series. When Piazza’s bat shattered, Clemens grabbed the jagged barrel and slung it in front of the Mets star as he ran toward first base, narrowly missing him. Players from both sides came onto the field, without incident. Clemens claimed he simply threw the broken wood to the batboy. “It was bizarre,” Piazza said.
ROBERTO ALOMAR: A great career was marred by what happened late in the 1996 season. Angered by a called third strike, the Baltimore star got into a venomous argument with plate umpire John Hirschbeck and then spit in his face. The next day, upset by Alomar’s remarks, Hirschbeck bolted into the Orioles' clubhouse in Toronto. The spitting, some feel, cost him first-ballot election to the Hall of Fame. “I regret every bit of it. I apologized many times to John,” Alomar said after getting enough votes this year.
LEE ELIA: A light-hitting shortstop, he left his mark on the majors with his mouth. All in little over 3 minutes, too. Beaten down after another loss in 1983, the Chicago Cubs’ manager unleashed a tirade that, at best count, included almost 50 pieces of profanity. Mostly, he took off on the booing fans at Wrigley Field. More or less, he said: “Eighty five percent of the world is working. The other 15 come out here.” Elia apologized to the team and city soon thereafter, and was fired later in the season.
By Brahma Chellaney
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