Joe Girardi: Ump Gave Me the 'Mutombo'

Joe Girardi: Ump Gave Me the 'Mutombo'

Yankees manager Joe Girardi argued a balls-and-strikes call. He got an ejection, and a finger-wagging, in return.

The events transpired Monday night in the top of the eighth inning on a called strike three to Brett Gardner that appeared, well, low. The call, coming with the bases loaded in a tie game that the Yankees would eventually lose 4-1 to the Angels, incensed Girardi. Home plate umpire Laz Diaz quickly ejected the manager–and in colorful fashion.

“I mentioned to Laz in a respectful way that I thought the pitch was up to Kelly Johnson earlier in the game, and he gave me the Mutombo,” Girardi told reporters. “I don’t appreciate that. I’m not a little kid. I don’t need to be scolded. Obviously we’re trying to work together, and I just thought there were a lot of inconsistencies tonight.”

The “Mutombo” refers to the index-finger-wagging motion made famous by former Georgetown and NBA star Dikembe Mutombo. The towering center often issued the Mutombo after blocking shots as a way to scold opposing players for even attempting to score upon him. 

MLB rule 9.02 clearly states: “Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.” There’s no rule yet governing the use of the Mutombo by umpires.