On Tuesday we brought you a small excerpt from the Royals Notebook in the Kansas City Star; proof positive that the Royals front office is marketing its team as as if it were in the Frontier League: "The last living munchkin from 'The Wizard of Oz' threw a surprisingly good first pitch before Sunday's game — and won a backpack during the fifth inning dance-off." Also from Tuesday, MLB.com took it even further:
Mickey Carroll, 87, the last surviving Munchkin from the 1939 epic film "The Wizard of Oz," threw one of several honorary first pitches before the game. Standing about the measure of his height (4-foot-7) in front of the pitching rubber, the strength of his throw impressed the crowd of 17,496.
But then a commenter remarked that he was at the San Diego Comic-Con during the same weekend, and another wee person billing himself as a former Wizard of Oz munchkin was signing autographs there. So what gives? Are bogus munchkins wandering North America, ripping off unsuspecting fans? We went to resident Deadspin Wizard of Oz expert Bob Ingersoll for an explanation, and this was his response:
(According to Comic-Con publicity) there are eight former munchkins still alive, and of them only three are healthy enough to travel. The San Diego munchkin was, allegedly, the head of "The Lollypop Guild" and he certainly looked like that man, albeit older. As for being able to throw a pitch, well, I figure most of the munchkins who are still alive would be in their late 80s now, so one might still be spry enough to throw a baseball.
So apparently, the Royals marketing department was misinformed — or blatantly lying — when they billed their attraction as "the last living munchkin," when in fact there are eight of them. Have you booked a munchkin to appear at a function for your group or organization? Do not make the mistake that the Royals made. Do not believe him when he claims he is the last of the munchkins. And we would also ask for two tiny forms of ID.