Best. Sports-Related Simpsons Episode. Ever.
By Dan O'Donnell
Remember that Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns hires Major League ringers to play for his power plant's softball team? Well ESPN's Jim Caple does, and just in time for The Simpsons Movie, has written a charming article about it.
For the uninitiated (or those who don't obsessively quote lines from the show), the episode entitled "Homer at the Bat" aired in the third season on February 20th, 1992 and is considered one of the best ever released. Check out clips from it on YouTube here (just don't tell the FOX Network).
Watching this episode when it first aired was an absolute revelation for a 10 year-old, baseball-obsessed me. I was one of the lucky few in my Catholic school class who was actually allowed to watch The Simpsons, and my buddy Seitz and I were its biggest fans. Combine MLB stars like Don Mattingly, Roger Clemens, and Ken Griffey, Jr. (my favorite at the time) with the best. show. ever. and I had the greatest thrill of my life...surpassed only by discovering girls several years later.
And the lines they would drop in this one! Smithers is presented with Burns' dream team (Cap Anson, Honus Wagner, Nap Lajoie, Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, etc.), leading to this hilarious exchange:
Smithers: Uhh, sir?
Burns: What is it, Smithers?
Smithers: I'm afraid all of those players have retired and, uh... passed on. In fact, your right-fielder has been dead for a hundred and thirty years.
Burns: Damnation! All right, find some good players, living players! Scour the professional ranks; the American League, the National league, the Negro Leagues.
Or how about this, when Marge is filming the big game?
Marge: Kids, tell me when your father stops scratching himself.
Bart: We'll tell you, Mom.
Classic, I tells ya, classic. By the way, I'm going to a midnight screening of The Simpsons Movie tonight, reviewing it, then filling in for Gene Mueller on Wisconsin's Morning News tomorrow morning. Yeah, I am quite nuts.