After Homer discovers that the Springfield Isotopes are being moved to Albuquerque, he stages a hunger strike outside the stadium.
The Simpsons visit Blockoland. Lisa buys an Eiffel Tower kit, only to find out later that it has a deliberately missing base piece. Homer decides to "sticks up for the little guy", getting Lisa the piece from a box labeled 'Missing tower pieces'. He then goes on to help Bart get a date for the upcoming school dance after the 'girl' said she'd rather go with Tommy (by telling Sherri/Terri she couldn't do better), and helps Marge's hair stylist sort his finances, getting her two free hair streaks in return.
One day while at Moe's, Lenny arrives, angry at the fact that the Springfield Isotopes are losing. Homer goes to get Lenny's ticket refunded, and meets the Isotopes' owner, Howard K. Duff VIII. The man refuses to supply a refund, but in his haste to leave, Homer discovers evidence that the Isotopes are being moved to Albuquerque. Duff insists that they are not moving, and quickly has Duffman drug Homer to cover up the truth.
Homer attempts to alert the local media of the scheme, but they call him a liar after he fails to provide evidence - Duff had removed all traces of it before it could be retrieved. Homer goes on a hunger strike in response, chaining himself to a pole near Duff Stadium, hoping to force the owners of the team to admit their secret plan. He draws quite a crowd, so the Isotopes management decide to relocate him to inside the ballpark, next to the field. They then exploit his popularity, calling him "Hungry, Hungry Homer" and claiming his hunger strike is a show of support for the Isotopes to win the pennant.
Meanwhile, back at home Bart, Lisa, and Maggie have all gotten fat, as lately they have had to eat Homer's dinner along with their own. Lisa asks her mother why she doesn't just cook less, to which Marge states "I don't do things that way Lisa".
Eventually Homer becomes so thin and ill that he beings to hallucinate, seeing the spirit of Cesar Chavez (who takes the form of Cesar Romero becuase Homer doesn't know what Chavez looks like) appear before him, encouraging him not to give up. Watching Homer talking to himself, Howard fears that he is losing his popularity and decides to get rid of him; he plans on putting a man who drinks a bucket of paint in his place, but the man falls down twitching while doing his trick. In a public ceremony, the team's owner unchains Homer, offering him a free hot dog. Homer realizes that the hot dog is topped with Southwestern ingredients. He reveals this new evidence to the witnessing crowd, who also notice that the hot dogs are wrapped with "Albuquerque Isotopes" paper. Realizing that Homer was telling the truth all along, the crowd gets angry, and Howard tries to bluff his way out of it. Homer and the fans chant for Howard to tell the truth, but Howard tells Duffman to get rid of Homer. Homer warns Duffman not to listen to him and tells him to stand up for the little guy for once in his life; inspired by Homer's words, Duffman turns on Howard and throws him over the fence. The fans hail Homer as a hero for exposing the lies, and they shower him with food (which he gladly eats as they throw it).
As for Albuquerque, the mayor's plan to 'steal' the Isotopes was foiled, he chooses to purchase the Dallas Cowboys and make them play baseball. When he's told that they're a football team, he retorts that they'll play what he tells them to, as he menacingly declares, "for I am the Mayor of Albuquerque!"
Behind the Laughter
This episode and Take My Wife, Sleaze were originally produced as one episode in which Homer wins a motorcycle and goes on a hunger strike when a law is passed that requires motorcyclists to wear helmets.
On the syndicated version in America, the last scene with the mayor of Albuquerque hatching a new plan was cut in syndication, so the episode ends with Homer celebrating in the stadium. The original ending is still shown in Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France and Italy, and has been reinstated in the season 12 DVD set for U.S. audiences.
A real-life minor-league baseball team, based in Albuquerque, chose to name their team the Albuquerque Isotopes after this episode.
This episode also popularized the internet slang word "meh".