Homer at the Bat
- "It's something very special: a homemade bat."
- ―Homer Simpson
| Homer at the Bat
| Episode Information
- "Mr. Burns bets $1,000,000 that his company team can beat a competing plant's team. In order to do so, he replaced the regular company team with new security guard Roger Clemens, new janitor Wade Boggs, lunchroom cashier Ken Griffey, Jr., and other new employees, such as Steve Sax, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith, Darryl Strawberry, José Canseco, and Mike Scioscia."
The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team has gone through their season undefeated, and in the championship game, they will face the Shelbyville Nuclear Power Plant. Homer is the team's leading hitter, thanks to his homemade Wonder Bat (a takeoff of the plot of the film The Natural).
Mr. Burns makes a million dollar bet with Aristotle Amadopoulos, owner of the Shelbyville plant, that his team will win. To secure victory in the game, Mr. Burns wants to hire major league stars, but Smithers tells Mr. Burns that the players he picked are all dead (they were alternately active from 1857–1937). Thus Mr. Burns orders Smithers to find some current superstar players and hires several Major League Baseball players to work at the plant (Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey, Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, José Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Scioscia) and to play on the team, much to the dismay of the plant workers who got the team to the championship game in the first place.
However, the night before the game, all the players but Strawberry have different incidents that don't allow them to play. Because of this, Mr. Burns must use actual employees, but keeps Homer on the bench because Strawberry plays his position. Homer does get in, though, with the score tied and bases loaded in the 9th inning, when Burns wants a right-handed hitter against a left-handed pitcher. The very first pitch hits Homer in the head, rendering him unconscious and forcing in the winning run. Homer is then paraded as a hero, still unconscious.
During the credits, Terry Cashman, who wrote the song "Talkin' Baseball", sings a take on his hit, "Talkin' Softball".
The episode was written by John Swartzwelder (a huge baseball fan) and directed by Jim Reardon. According to the crew, the episode took longer than most episodes to produce.
Up until this point, The Simpsons didn't usually have tons of guest stars and never had more than four in a single episode. Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, José Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Scioscia and Terry Cashman all guest star as themselves. Ryne Sandberg and Carlton Fisk rejected guest spots in the episode.
The writers and producers had to wait throughout the season for players to play the Los Angeles Dodgers or the California Angels to record their lines. Some plot lines had to be rewritten quickly. José Canseco's scene originally called for him and Mrs. Krabappel to engage in Bull Durham-inspired extramarital shenanigans. However, Canseco's wife rejected the scene and the staff had to do a quick rewrite when Oakland came south on a mid-August road trip.
The episode has received overwhelming positive reviews from critics and it is often included in lists of the best episodes of the show. "Homer at the Bat" was tuned in by more American homes than The Cosby Show or the Winter Olympics from Albertville, France, resulting in Fox's first primetime victory, over NBC and CBS.
- Al Jean's Twitter
- Tim Kaiser. "Hairy problem dogs mattingly Don gets a 'toon-up' on 'Simpsons' tonight", The Evansville Courier,, p. C2. Retrieved on 2008-02-19.