We’d Like To Welcome You To Munchkin Land

Drama.  Intensity.  Controversy.  Late game heroics. 

Last night’s 3-2 Jays win over the Evil Empire had it all.  It was quite possibly the best game of the season.  Who cares that the Jays were 12.5 games back going in – it felt like a playoff game.

Jose Bautista was the hero, as he has been many times this season.  But instead of singing his praises I would rather point you to two outstanding posts by two outstanding blogs – Drunk Jays Fans and Sports and the City.  They do a fantastic job praising J-Bau and sticking it to Damien “Suck My” Cox of the Star, who broke the ridiculous story linking Bautista and steroids on Sunday.

Instead, I want to focus on something else from last night’s ball game.  I want to focus on where the game was played.

At first glance, to the naked eye, it appeared that the game was taking place at Rogers Centre (nee Skydome) in Toronto. 

But to the trained eye, it was obvious that the game was being played in a place far, far away….Munchkin Land.

Munchkins can be very good at many different things, but after last night it became painfully obvious that umpiring is not one of them.  Home plate ump Jerry “Lollipop Guild” Meals turned in one of the worst umpiring performances of all time last night. 

What did he do wrong?  Let’s find out:

– He ejected Yunel Escobar from the game in the 5th inning.  He was physically walking towards the SS and about 100+ feet away when making the call.  I’m not sure if the two of them have a history, but the ejection seemed outrageous to me.

– Followed that up by ejecting Cito from the game seconds later.  This one I can understand.  He was likely terrified.  Baseball Reference lists Gaston as 6′ 3″, 190 lbs.  The office of the registrar of Munchkin Land in the Land of Oz lists Jerry “Lollipop Guild” Meals as 3′ 9″, 64 lbs.  The size difference was likely enough to make Meals soil himself, then eject Gaston in an act of self preservation.

– In the 6th inning, after ringing up Nick Swisher on a called third strike, stood by silently while Swisher vehemently argued the call.  His face was directly in Meals’ grill.  Arguing balls and strikes is not permitted in baseball:  Rule 9.02(a) Comment: Players leaving their position in the field or on base, or managers or coaches leaving the bench or coaches box, to argue on BALLS AND STRIKES will not be permitted. They should be warned if they start for the plate to protest the call. If they continue, they will be ejected from the game.  Swisher should have been given a warning.  He was not.

– Yankee manager Joe Girardi came out to protect Swisher, but also appeared to get several words in about the strike zone.  According to ruel 9.02(a), since Girardi is a manager and left his dugout, he should have been ejected.  He was not.

– 9th inning, same scenario with Curtis Granderson.  The third Yankee to contentiously argue balls and strikes.  The third Yankee to get away with it unscathed.

– Granderson did have a point.  According to pitchFX, the called third strike was over half a foot outside the strike zone, meaning Jerry “Lollipop Guild” Meals was horrible at performing the most basic and fundmental task in his job description.  This was likely due to the fact that he had difficulty seeing over the catcher due to his 3′ 9″ height.

– Lost control of the game in the bottom of the 6th when Nova threw up and in on Bautista.  He instantly gave a warning to the rookie pitcher which caused the benches to clear.  Most of the credit goes to Girardi and Molina who diffused the situation by restraining J-Bau, while Jerry “Lollipop Guild” Meals waved his arms frantically.

Early rumours have tonight’s game moving back from Munchkin Land to Toronto.  Hopefully the umpiring returns to MLB standards as well.

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