To look at the ascent of Brett Lawrie with the Blue Jays since he was picked up from the Brewers for Shaun Marcum is a fun game. Toronto fans went through many emotional stages. First it was rage that their favourite goatee'd pitcher was traded for a kid, then it was solace in the fact that the kid was from Canada and then it was love as they watched their good 'ole Canadian boy hustle his way down the first base line and into their hearts.
Is he the next Roberto Alomar? Come now, surely that's over the top. No, he's the next Pete Rose, dammit! And we'll set you alight if your anti-Canadianisms prevent him from getting to his rightful place in Cooperstown.
Lawrie is having himself a fine, unspectacular season. He has amassed 1.4 WAR to date despite hitting for no real power to speak of. The evidence is in his .106 ISO rating against the .287 mark he posted in 2011. All in all, he's playing good, consistent baseball - something hard to find in a 22 year old having his first real go-around the big leagues.
They say a relationship is forged in the dark days it faces and the first was last night - Lawrie was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with umpire Bill Miller. What happened after that? Well, for lack of a better term, Lawrie lost his damn mind, spiked his batting helmet into the ground and off the ump and got his manager ejected with him.
Online there was the rush to defend him - our lovable scamp would not be wronged by some big, ego-tripping maniac in black. He deserved that helmet, he deserved to be reamed out and he deserved that beer shower too! Kind of funny, he can't see balls or strikes or a filled cup flying his way.
Obviously fans are quick to defend their own guys, but the reaction with Lawrie was so immediate, so passionate -- and in many cases -- so blind that you have to wonder: What would Brett "I fought the" Lawrie have to do to have Toronto fans turn their backs on him?
It's a tough question to answer, but here are some suggestions:
1) Mike Vick-esque dog fighting syndicate based out of Mississauga
2) The unveiling of a secret tramp stamp with the logo of another AL East team.
3) Vocal collaboration with Justin Bieber which would then showcase as his walkup music.
4) Leaving the Jays in his first year of free agency to play with LeBron and Wade in Miami.
He's 22. He's Canadian. He's super-freaking intense. Boy do we love him.
Hustle and Heart, baby. Hustle and Heart.