The Simpsons

Season 3 Episode 17

Homer at the Bat

4
Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 20, 1992 on FOX
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
290 votes
23

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's softball team goes on a season long winning streak thanks to Homer's "Wunderbat." But with the pennant and a $1 million bet on the line Mr. Burns brings in 9 ringers from the professional baseball ranks and a disappointed Homer has to sit the bench.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Perfect

    10
    The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's softball team goes on a season long winning streak thanks to Homer's "Wunderbat." But with the pennant and a $1 million bet on the line Mr. Burns brings in 9 ringers from the professional baseball ranks and a disappointed Homer has to sit the bench.

    10 out of 10
  • Doesn't get better than this

    9.5
    Homer and his nuclear plant buddies are enjoying a company baseball season until his power-hungry boss enlists professional ringers to beat a rival boss in the final match. Although this episode is only really known as being "the one where ten pro baseball players guest star", this episode is often seen and labelled (very correctly) as one of the best of the series.



    Baseball fan John Swartzwelder pens yet another terrific script that is arranged and paced just right, given a suitably surreal tone and is jam - packed with laughs. He is the only writer on the show who I would trust with writing lines for these athletes, had any of the smart alecky other writers had attempted it, it would've resulted in a significant ass-kicking. The only red flag of the episode would be that if one is not a baseball fan then many of the sports in-jokes and references would fly over their heads. Also while the ending is happy, in a way it isn't really a fair one; Mr. Burns acheives victory through cheating and enlisting professional baseball players and grudgingly letting the others join in when his ringers were unavailable. Most movies and tv shows would teach the kiddies that such people are punished. No matter how much they are paid, how they are portrayed, the lines they're given etc. Sports stars on an animated show will just never sound into it and this episode is a relevant example. Not only is a lack of enthusiasm blatant but the voices sound very much like they were recorded seperately and thrown in and they never really gel with the rest of the dialogue. One masterful example of sound editing is when various characters are under hypnosis and had to speak at the same time and considering the individual voices were recorded in different places and months apart and still worked is a credit to whoever is in that thankless job.



    The always interesting Mr. Burns is given a very large role in this episode and for once he is not seen as a typical evil, bitter, rich old man, his coaching duties see him become hilariously eccentric and a superb vocal performance from Harry Shearer sees Mr. Burns as the most "excellent" of the episode. (I still can't believe Shearer is the only main voice actor who has never won an Emmy).



    The episode doesn't just present animated perfection from start to finish, the closing credits feature a great musical number that adds to the monumentality that is this episode and was deserving of a "Music and Lyrics" Emmy nomination.



    Think of The Simpsons as the American economy, this episode was the epitome of the golden era where the quality prosperity was booming and from seasons 2 - 15 the episodes were superb. Too bad this period comes to an end after season 15 when the quality collapsed and the Simpsons Depression began and as of 2009 it doesn't look like a recovery is in sight.moreless
  • this was a good ep

    8.5
    in this ep of the simpsons there is a tryout sheet on the wall of the office in the plant homer signs up with lenny and carl and they go to tryouts homer and lenny and carl make the team. and homer goes home and makes a home made bat. and he starts cracking out home runs left and right and it leading the team to victory . thing is mr burns goes and makes a 1 million dollar bet and he deiceds to bring in ringers hirs the most domanite players in baseball at the time and homer and the rest of the players are on the bench and the ringures all have problems and so the ringures cant really make it. this was a good epmoreless
  • Talkin' Softball

    10
    Homer gets him and his friends to sign up for the Power Plant Softball Team, and they are unbeatable. But soon Burns makes a bet with Shelbyville Plant Owner, and the loser owes the winner $1 million. So of course Burns decides to cheat, getting real super baseball players to play for the team. But different fates befall all of them, and now Burns needs to use the regular players, except for Homer, because his player is still there. But before the last pitch Homer gets to bat. In the end Homer technically wins.



    A classic episode from a classic seasonmoreless
  • Almost Baseball Legends

    9.5
    This is another one of the episodes I really love, it's not everyday you actually have real life baseball stars guest voice. This episode is one of the funnest sports comidies I've seen since "Slap Shot", "Shalin Soccer", and "Dodgeball". It's a slight parody on a lot of the sports films you seen and some of the cleches they have are in this episode.



    Even though Homer is the main protagonist in this episode it really is Burns and the players that steel the show. Like in most sports movies there is always a coach that is inspiring and has great leadership skills that takes the team to victory, Burns is unfortunately not that guy he does take the team to victory but not on fair terms. I even liked that quote which was just hilarous, "I would tell you some inspiring speach at this moment but I don't know any so think of every movie that has one."



    The baseball star players themselves are just hilarous as well, their playing contrary to who they are in real life by playing mere characures of themselves. As we see most of them are self centered, ego centric, power tripping morons. From the put downs they give Homer it really made me feel bad for Homer because he really isn't a bad baseball player, and just made me route for him more to win; Homer like in most sports films is the classic underdog hero that comes though in the end.



    I love what happens to each of the baseball players that don't make it to the game, it's as if the gods of Baseball are punishing/mocking Mr. Burns and the players for their egotism and unfair game. A couple of favorate consequences of my are seeing Smith fall down into the "Twilight Zone" portal and Biggs get punched by Barney from some debate on who was the best prime minister, it just cracked me up seeing Barney go into rage everytime his opinion was chalanged.



    And of course the ending was great, not just winning the game in the most unorthadox and daftest way ever but that photo at the end and the song which was a parody of another song and it was sung by the same singer was chearful and a little funny.moreless
Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs

Himself

Guest Star

Jose Canseco

Jose Canseco

Himself

Guest Star

Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens

Himself

Guest Star

Marcia Wallace

Marcia Wallace

Edna Krabappel

Recurring Role

Maggie Roswell

Maggie Roswell

Various

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (9)

    • The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's softball team had a pathetic 2 and 28 win-loss record the previous season.

    • The "Springfield Mystery Spot" sign further adds: "Where logic takes a holiday and all laws of nature are meaningless."

    • Each player's misfortune in act 3:

      Steve Sax: Arrested by the police.
      Mike Scioscia: Radiation sickness.
      Ken Griffey Jr.: Overdose of Nerve Tonic.
      Ozzie Smith: Vanished off the face of the earth.
      Wade Boggs: Knocked out by Barney.
      Jose Canseco: Helping the lady in the house.
      Roger Clemens: Hypnotized to be a chicken.
      Don Mattingly: Kicked off when he didn't shave his sideburns.
      Darryl Strawberry: None, but pulled when the bases were loaded in the 9th inning.

    • Mr. Burns' proposed lineup and the years they played: P Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown (1903-1916); C Gabby Street (1904-1931); 1B Cap Anson (1871-1897; incidentally, one of the most racist players in baseball history); 2B Napoleon Lajoie (1896-1916); SS Honus Wagner (1897-1917; arguably the greatest player who ever lived); 3B Pie Traynor (1920-1937; also referenced in Dancin' Homer); LF Shoeless Joe Jackson (1908-1920; banned for life in Black Sox Scandal), CF Harry Hooper (1909-1925) and RF Jim Creighton (a superstar before the game got organized. As Smithers notes, he died in 1862 at the age of 21). Mr. Burns' must have been quite the fan from the mid-19th to early 20th century. That team has six Hall-of-Famers (Joe Jackson would have been seven had he not been banned).

    • In one of the baseball games Rich Moore, David Silverman, and Wes Archer can be seen on the bottom row.

    • A sign at the Springfield Heights Millionaires Club states that you must have more than one million dollars to enter.

    • The Heimlich Maneuver poster pictures a man choking on a whole lobster.

    • Marge wears a Smilin' Joe Fission cap atop her hairdo.

    • Goof: When Homer gets beaned by the pitcher, Lisa says that it counts as a hit. It doesn't, it would count as a "hit by pitch."

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Lenny: Hit one here Charlie!
      (Charlie swings his bat, it slips out his hands and goes flying into one of Lenny's shins)
      Lenny: (in pain) Aah! Aaah!

    • Carl: (to Homer) Yeah, and I got my enchanted jock strap!

    • Rich Man: Would you care to bet a million dollars.
      Mr. Burns: Oh, if we're going to bet, why not make it interesting?
      Rich Man: What, a million dollars isn't interesting to you?
      Mr. Burns: Oh, did you say a million? I'm sorry, my mind was elsewhere. I thought you'd start with a small amount, then we'd slowly bait each other, and . . . well, you know how it goes. Yes, certainly, a million will be fine.

    • Officer Eddie: (reading Steve Sax's license) Well well, Steve Sax, from New York City.
      Officer Lou: I heard some guy got killed in New York City and they never solved the case. But you wouldn't know anything about that now, would you, Steve?
      (Lou and Eddie laugh)
      Steve Sax: But there are hundreds of unsolved murders in New York City.
      Officer Lou: You don't know when to keep your mouth shut, do you, Saxxy Boy?

    • Umpire: Okay, let's go over the ground rules. You can't leave first until you chug a beer. Any man scoring has to chug a beer. You have to chug a beer at the top of all odd-numbered innings. Oh, and the fourth inning is the beer inning.
      Wiggum: Hey, we know how to play softball!

    • Lisa: Wow, Dad!
      Bart: Homer, can I get you a beer?
      Lisa: No, I want to get him a beer.
      Homer: Kids, kids, kids! You can each get me a beer.

    • Lisa: You stink Strawberry, we want home run Homer!
      Bart: Darryl... Darryl.
      Bart and Lisa: Darryl... Darryl!
      Marge: Kids, that's not very nice
      Lisa: Mom, they're professional athletes, they're used to this kind of thing, it rolls right off their back!
      (Cut to close up to Strawberry, who begins to tear up.)

    • Homer: Oh no! I don't want you to see me sitting on my worthless butt!
      Bart: We've seen it, dad!

    • Ozzie Smith: How long does it take to see this thing? I'm kind of in a hurry.
      Mystery Spot Owner: Well it's hard to say my friend, once you go in, you may never come out.
      Ozzie Smith: Wow! (puts the money forward) One please! (walks inside and falls into the bottomless hole) Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

    • Homer: Please please please, I want to make the team. Clemens, did I make the team?
      Roger Clemens: You sure did!
      Homer: I did? Woohoo! Woohoo! In your face Strawberry!
      Roger Clemens: Wait a minute, are you Ken Griffey Jr.?
      Homer: No.
      Roger Clemens: Sorry, didn't mean to get your hopes up.

    • Homer: You're Darryl Strawberry?
      Darryl: Yes.
      Homer: You play right field?
      Darryl: Yes.
      Homer: I play right field too, so, are you better than me?
      Darryl: Well, I've never met you, but…yes.

    • Carl: That's it?
      Lenny: Yeah, I've got a magic bat too!
      Carl: And I have an enchanting jockstrap, Heh, heh, heh.

    • Marge: And the next man wants to hit the ball too...and he does and everyone is happy.
      Bart: Uh, mom? Why don't you let me call the game?
      Marge: That's alright dear, I can do it.

    • Marge: Homey, come to bed
      Homer: (goes back to bed with a plainer) Homer, go back to the garage!

    • Homer: Come here, boy, I want to show you something.
      Bart: What's that, a homemade bat?
      Homer: It's something very special: a homemade bat.

    • Burns: It's a brain and nerve tonic, full of proteins and electromagnetic juices.
      Griffey: (takes a sip) Wow! It's like there's a party in my mouth and everybody's invited!

    • Homer: It was a lightning storm and I'd locked myself out. So, sheltering myself with a large piece of sheet metal, I ran and took shelter under the largest tree I could find.

    • Hypnotist: You are all very good players
      Team: We are all very good players.
      Hypnotist: You will beat Shelbyville.
      Team: We will beat Shelbyville.
      Hypnotist: You will give 110 percent.
      Team: That's impossible no one can give more than 100 percent. By definition that's the most any one can give.

    • Burns: You, Strawberry, hit a home run.
      Strawberry: Okay, skip.
      (hits a home run)
      Burns: Ha-ha! I told him to do that.
      Smithers: Brilliant strategy sir.

    • End Theme:
      Well, Mr. Burns had done it,
      The power plant had won it,
      With Roger Clemens clucking all the while.
      Mike Scoscia's tragic illness made us smile,
      While Wade Boggs lay unconscious on the barroom tile.
      We're talking softball,
      From Maine to San Diego.
      We're talking softball,
      Mattingly and Canseco.
      Ken Griffey's grotesquely swollen jaw,
      Steve Sax and his run-in with the law,
      We're talking Ho-mer,
      Ozzie, and the Straw!

  • NOTES (3)

    • The DVD commentary tells about how Harry Shearer didn't like this story at all. That was bad for him, because many of his characters (Mr. Burns, Smithers, Lenny) are all playing major roles in the episode.

    • The 'Audio Outtakes' Easter egg on the Season Three DVD has several clips from the baseball players in this episode, including Roger Clemens clucking like a chicken, something with Ken Griffey, Jr., Darryl Strawberry doing several takes of "I got it, I got it!", and Ozzie Smith's son doing his impression of Bart.

    • Blackboard Joke: I will not aim for the head.
      Couch Gag: In the mad dash for the couch, everyone except Maggie clonks their heads together and collapse unconscious. Maggie gets the couch all to herself.

  • ALLUSIONS (5)

    • Talkin' Baseball
      The song played over the credits, Talkin' Softball, parodies Talkin' Baseball by Terry Cashman who actually sings the parody.

    • Carl: Yeah I got my magic bat off a piano.
      This is a reference to a true baseball story. On July 15, 1973, Nolan Ryan was in the middle of pitching his second no-hitter of the season for the California Angels, as they were going up against the Detroit Tigers. In the ninth inning with two men on base Tigers slugger Norm Cash, who had struck out his first two times up, decided he was finished trying to hit any of Ryan's pitches, and went to the plate with what he called "an equalizer." A piano leg. Cash brought the leg up to the plate, only to be told it was an illegal object to use at the plate. Cash contested saying "There's no use, I can't hit anything he throws," and demanded he be allowed to try with the leg. Umpire Ron Luciano said that he could have a practice swing against Ryan, and that if he could hit the ball he would allow the foreign object to be used. Ryan pitched; Cash swung, and missed the ball. He was promptly ordered to go get a regulation bat. When Cash returned, he popped a hit into left field which was quickly caught, and the Angels beat the Tigers, 6-0.

    • The Pride of the Yankees
      The montage of going from city to cit is a parody of the same scenes in The Pride of the Yankees. This includes Homer pointing to the outfield a la Babe Ruth.

    • The Natural
      Homer carves his own bat, just like Roy Hobbs in the book, and later 1984 film The Natural. Homer calls his bat, "Wonderbat", while Roy names his "Wonderboy". The other reference to the film is the team being hypnotized by a shrink before the game.

    • Casey at the Bat
      The episode title of this episode is a parody of Ernest L. Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat," in which the star of Mudville's baseball team blows a last-minute at-bat.

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