15 Minutes With Brett Lawrie
B.C. native and former Blue Jays infielder Brett Lawrie returned to Toronto to talk playing through pain, his passion for Pringles and his plans for celebrating Canada’s 150th.
Photo: Courtesy Brett Lawrie
Brett Lawrie: The RD Interview
Reader’s Digest: It’s been three years since you last played in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform. Is there anything you miss about living in “the 6ix”?
Brett Lawrie: Being a baseball player here and being Canadian at the same time, I just liked the vibe of the city. This was my first opportunity to come into the big leagues, and where better than to do that than in my own backyard? Coming back to Toronto after 10 days on the road, it always felt like I was coming home.
Are there any particular road trips that standout as places you’d like to spend some more time exploring?
I like it closer to home. I like the West Coast; I’d say Seattle is a place that kind of reminds me of B.C.
And I suppose you tend to get a lot of Canadian fans out to see you when you play in Seattle?
Yeah, that’s always a crazy game, man. When the Blue Jays come to play the [Seattle] Mariners, all of the fans come down… It seems like a Blue Jays home game, especially when the gates open for batting practice. It’s packed.
Since your time in Toronto, you’ve played in Oakland with the A’s, and more recently, with the Chicago White Sox. Which ball park do you tend to feel most at home in?
As far as “being home,” I’d have to say here at the Rogers Centre. It’s where it all started for me. And I’m not going to say it’s my favourite ball park, but the venue and what it is… It’s my home park.
What’s the hardest thing about playing on the road?
Living out of your suitcase. Literally, you’re wearing the same gear all the time. You check into the hotel, you put your stuff down, you pack it up again and you’re off to a new hotel… After a while, all the hotels start to feel the same, and it wears on you.
Being a ball player is obviously hard on your body, too. Any insight on how you manage playing through pain?
It’s not so much pain… It’s more a discomfort. If you were to get hit by a pitch, you can kind of just shake that off because your adrenaline kicks in so fast. It’s the games where you body’s feeling like garbage before the first pitch that are that the hard ones. Your body really starts to ache after those long stretches without a day off, and it’s hard for that stuff to go away because you’ve just been doing it consistently all day, every day.
Is there anything about being a ball player that would surprise the fans? Like, do you do your own grocery shopping?
People think that once you’re in the big leagues, you become a new human being. I’m like, bro, I’m Canadian! I’m very basic. I eat ketchup chips! I’ll probably celebrate July 1st like a normal Canadian, and have a couple of beers with the Canadian flag hanging up somewhere! I’m cool with just being able to have what I have, and I don’t need anything other than what’s in front of me. That’s just how I’ve always been.
Speaking of the ketchup chips… That’s a Canadian delicacy you can’t get on the road, isn’t it?
Yeah, I’ve been in the United States for the past three years, and you can’t find them anywhere!
To celebrate the launch of Pringles ketchup chips in Canada, Brett Lawrie will be in Toronto on June 3 to host what could very well be the most Canadian of all world records… Beginning at 11a.m. on the corner of Front Street West and Simcoe Street, ketchup chip fanatics will suit up in ketchup-resistant coveralls, helmets and goggles, and hurl themselves down a 50-foot slippery slide covered in ketchup. The goal? To set a unique world record—”The Most Canadians to Slip Down a Ketchup Slippery Slide in One Hour!”
Reader’s Digest: Will you be joining the sliders at Saturday’s event?
Brett Lawrie: I’m going to save my slides for the big leagues!