By Jason Wojciechowski on May 10, 2011 at 12:25 AM
What's the point of this blog if I'm not going to weigh in on all the controversies of the day? I neglected to state my position on Josh Willingham's suspension at the time it happened. Wrongs must be righted.
Here's John Shea's description:
After being ejected, Willingham made sure to get in Miller's face. The contact, Kouzmanoff's camp will argue, was inadvertent. After the contact, Miller reacted by raising his hands and stepping backward, emphasizing that he was bumped.
The ejection was clearly justified -- as soon as the first word about the strike call was uttered, the umpire had the right to give Willingham the heave-ho. Given the vociferousness with which the latter was prosecuting his claims, that right was surely exercised entirely properly.
The bump, though! The bump is the real issue, because that's what gets a man a day off without pay. What is again certain is that contact was made between Willingham and the umpire. The passive voice there, though, is intentional, because it is far less certain who initiated said contact. Willingham disclaims responsibility, of course, essentially arguing that it was the umpire's shoulder turn during or after his ejection mechanic that caused the bump.
Replay, unfortunately, does not answer the question. I am forced to rely on a heuristic appropriated from my NBA fandom. As Mr. Shea says above, the umpire "emphasiz[ed] that he was bumped." I would go further and say, rather, in light of his extreme reaction to the kind of contact New Yorkers associate with off-peak hours on the subway, that he flopped. You probably know how I feel about floppers, my beloved Derek Fisher included: I think they deserve the stocks, and should not be trusted as far as you can throw their SUVs.
Thus, we have our answer. Josh Willingham was salty, but umpire Jim Miller falls in that genus of the most detestable creatures: homo flopiens. I would grant Willingham's appeal, overturn his suspension, and require Miller to issue an apology to America.