Homer at the Bat

Homer at the Bat                                   Written by John Swartzwelder
                                                        Directed by Jim Reardon

Title sequence

In the USA, cut from clouds directly to driveway (to make room for FOX's
promotional material).

Blackboard :- `I will not aim for the head'.
              `I will not aim forth' at cutoff.

    The blackboard was aired in Canada.
    Dave Hall {dh} says that the `r' and `t' were definitely closer
    together in the cutoff line.

Driveway   :- Homer says `D'oh!' when Lisa scoots past.
              Homer says `Waugh!' when the car closes in on him.

Couch      :- In the mad dash for the couch, everyone except Maggie
              clonks their heads together and collapse unconscious.
              Maggie gets the couch all to herself.

Didja notice...

    Also starring
        Maggie Roswell (nurse, woman whose house is burning)
    Special Guest Voice
        Marcia Wallace (Ms. Krabappel's scene was cut, but the credit remains)
    Special Guest Voices
        Wade Boggs, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens
        Ken Griffey, Jr., Don Mattingly, Steve Sax
        Mike Scioscia, Ozzie Smith, Darryl Strawberry
    Special Guest Voice
        Terry Cashman (himself)

    ... Homer closed his eyes when he swung the bat?  So much for
        ``keep your eye on the ball''.
    ... Smithers wore his badge even when not at the plant?
    ... when Bart and Lisa are taunting Darryl, Maggie puts her hand
        beside her mouth, too?  (She doesn't say anything, of course.)
    ... Marge was wearing a Smilin' Joe Fission cap atop her 'do?
    ... Maggie's `hat' contained three fingers and a thumb?  {rjs}
        More continuity fun.

Dave Hall {dh} asks...
   ...Karl signed his name with a `C'?  [So I guess Homer can't spell
      Karl's name; see [7F15]. --rjc]
   ...in Homer's flash-back, he tried to open the door by placing his foot
      on the door while pulling on the door knob?  (Think about it.)
      [Ah, but this is <always> how cartoon characters try to open locked
      doors. --rjc]
   ...Maggie, waving hands, reaching up for Homer?
   ...something wrong with Barney's picture?  Answer: No beer mug near, or in


Scott Amspoker {sa}:  I thought the episode was not up to par until
this moment [Burn's ``Well, DUH!''] which cracked me up.  The rest
of the episode was top notch.

Alan J. Rosenthal {ajr}:  A good one!

Joe Kincaid {jk}:  I really liked this episode.

Yours Truly {rjc}:  Another strong showing.  I was guessing that the `Shhh...'
of the Gracie Logo would be an umpire yelling, ``Play ball!''  And every time
I see Homer's game-winning hit-by-pitch in the faded B&W clip, I laugh out

Movie (and other) References

  + The Natural
        - The music
        - Roy Hobbs' bat comes from a tree struck by lightning. {thf}
    Pride of the Yankees
        - traveling from city to city via train, with the pennants of
          the cities being visited. {to2}
  + Babe Ruth's home run
        - Ruth allegedly pointed into the stands as he stepped into the plate,
          and proceeded to hit a home run where he had pointed.  Ask a
          baseball scholar for various debunkings of this myth.
    Cleveland Indians logo
        - Strawberry's smile after showing up Homer in the outfield. {jk}

Freeze Frame Fun

The donut room

   Signs:  Labor Laws
           Clean up your own mess!
                Notice the spilt coffee on the floor, joined by Homer's
                regurgitated donut.
            Overhead pipes leaking green goo, patched up with cloth.
    In the next room:
            Employee of the Month
            barrel labelled Radioactive Material
    On the bulletin board:
            Heimlich Maneuver (picture of the maneuver being administered,
                               an entire lobster propelled from the man's


Police Department

East Springfield

Fort Springfield

A night game.

Apu pitching, Otto at first base. Otto is still wearing his headset.

In the crowd {dh}

     Principal Skinner
     Mrs. Hoover (with Skinner?)
     Sherry or Terry
     Mrs. Quick (maybe) [7F21]
     Roger Myers & his animator cronies. [7F09]

Springfield Heights

Millionaire's Club

          You must have
          more than this
          to enter              The `$1,000,000' is on what appears
         +------------+         to be a replaceable plate.
         | $1,000,000 |

Monty Burns' Dream Team

   Cap Anson (first base)
   Honus Wagner (third base)
   ``Three Finger'' Brown (pitcher)

People in the audience listening to the Steve Sax Trio {dh}

   Jacques [7G11]
   John and Gloria [7F20]

The starting line-up

# Player           Pos How recruited              Fate
- ---------------- --- -------------------------- ------------------------
1 Steve Sax         2B playing at jazz club       six life sentences
2 Wade Boggs        3B                            punched out by Barney
3 Darryl Strawberry RF                            pulled for pinch hitter
4 Jose Canseco      LF baseball card convention   saving burning house
5 Don Mattingly     1B washing dishes at home     kicked off team
6 Ken Griffey, Jr.  CF                            overdose of nerve tonic
7 Mike Scioscia     C  deer hunting               radiation overdose
8 Ozzie Smith       SS touring Graceland          lost in Mystery Spot
9 Roger Clemens     P                             thinks he's a chicken

Springfield Mystery Spot.

   Where logic takes a holiday and all laws of nature are meaningless.

Animation and continuity goofs

A slow-pitch softball team has ten players.  Though it looks like they were
playing fast-pitch, which team has nine players, just like baseball.  Don't
even try quoting rules until you find a set of rules that requires you to
chug a beer before leaving first base.

They are playing for the city championship, but we've been led to believe
that Shelbyville is a neighboring town.  (See, however, the discussion in
the capsule for `The Way We Was' [7F12].)

From one angle, Burns is giving the signs while standing on the third base
foul line.  But from another angle, he's on the grass.

In the closing song, the pitcher after Apu pitches overhand.
(Because the clip was taken from [7F05].)

Dave Hall's continuity report:

Introduction shot of Burn's office doesn't show Burn's baseball chart of

Smithers dropped the bag when Mike Scioscia shot at him, yet in the wide
shot, Smithers is still holding it.

Homer's fork disappears for one scene during dinner.

The Brain and Nerve Tonic doesn't appear in Burn's back pocket until he was
about to take it out.

There are no street lamps during Steve Sax's nighttime drive.  He also
sprouted a seat belt after being pulled over.

Ozzie Smith didn't have a camera when he entered the `Mystery Spot'.

Smither's ID card disappeared from his jacket for several scenes.

Although Burns and Smithers were sitting in the corner of the dug-out,
Burns walked off camera to the same corner to yell at the hypnotist.

Strawberry wiped a tear from his eye using his right hand, yet before and
after shots shows a mitt on that hand.

Pan shot shows Lenny and Karl on base when Strawberry goes up to bat, yet
after Burns calls Strawberry back, Lenny and Karl appear in the dug-out.

Media coverage

Sports Illustrated 27 Jan 92

Brian Mathason (BKM106@psuvm.psu.edu) points out the following article:

    Homer's Odyssey (nine major leaguers get animated on the Simpsons)

    Homer Simpson pinch-hitting for Darryl Strawberry? And more amazing:  a
    selfless, surehanded Darryl Strawberry?  This must be a world of the

    Don't have a cow, it is.  In an episode of the Simpsons that will air on
    Feb. 20, Mr. Burns, Homer's boss, assembles a lineup of formidable ringers
    for his company softball team.  Jose Canseco and Ken Griffey Jr. join
    Strawberry in the outfield, while Roger Clemens and Mike Scioscia form
    the battery.  Around the horn the Springfield Nuclear Plant team boasts
    Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, and Wade Boggs.

    ``Virtually all the writers on the staff are rotisserie league junkies,''
    says Simpsons creator Matt Groening.  (This explains why---since fielding
    doesn't count in Rotisserie baseball---Boggs is drawn with a glove on his
    right hand.  The real Boggs throws right handed.)  Last spring, in an
    overt act of collusion, the writers conspired to create the ultimate
    Rotisserie team and write a show around it, using the actual major league
    players to provide voice-overs.  Throughout the summer, whenever one of
    the Springfield nine visited Southern California on a road trip, he would
    come into the studio to read his lines.

    ``I was surprised that the players were so amiable,'' says writer John
    Swartzwelder, whose script poked fun at their images.  It portrays
    Strawberry, for example, as a spry fielder and team leader who throws
    around such words as ``hustle'' and ``attitude''.  Mattingly is booted
    from the team for failing to trim his sideburns.  And Boggs is punched
    out by a patron at Moe's Tavern after a dispute over who was England's
    greatest prime minister.

    Not everyone appreciated Swartzwelder's sense of humor, however.  ``One
    of the players' wives objected to her husband's having an affair with
    Mrs. Krabappel, Bart Simpson's teacher,'' says Groening, who was then
    forced to say ``No way, Jose'' to the plot twist.

    As a rule, prematurely bald characters are not outstanding baseball
    players.  Take Charlie Brown.  Or Barry Lions.  Yet with two outs in the
    bottom of the ninth and the score tied, Homer, who bats right handed, is
    called upon to pinch hit for the left-handed Strawberry against a
    southpaw.  Homer then strides to the plate as if it were piled high
    with glazed doughnuts.

    Does Simpson strike out or get a hit?  We won't spoil it for you, but
    rest assured that the climax is touching.  You may even find yourself
    reaching for a Homer Hanky.

                - John Walters

For those who don't know the term, in Rotisserie League baseball, you choose
nine major league players and score points based on their performance.

Rocky Mountain 23 Feb 92 Sports Section

Ron Carter {rc} produces this article:

    SPORTS PEOPLE  Life tends to imitate art in major leagues

    If you saw last week's episode of `The Simpsons', the
    one in which several major league stars are recruited to
    play on Homer's office softball team, then you saw Don
    Mattingly get kicked off the club in a dispute about a
    haircut and watched Darryl Strawberry feud with a teammate.

    Just simple parodies of what happened last season, right?
    Wrong, the show's staff says.  ``That script was written and
    ready to record in July,'' co-producer Jon Vitti said.

    Mattingly really did get benched because he wouldn't get
    a haircut.  And Strawberry did get into a snit with teammate
    Kal Daniels.

    There also was a script, Vitti said, that called for Jose
    Canseco to have marital problems.

Educational television?

San Francisco Chronicle

Jym Dyer {jd} presents the following article from page D3 of the 21-May-1992
San Francisco Comical:

                 Homer Simpson Saves The Day

    Karen Bencze credits Homer Simpson with saving her 8-year-old
    son Alex's life.  Bencze, of Auburn, Wash., says the boy was
    choking on an orange when his 10-year-old brother, Chris, used
    the Heimlich maneuver, which he learned from a ``Simpsons''
    episode that opens with Homer gagging on a doughnut.  Unlike
    Alex, Homer doesn't get much help and coughs up the doughnut
    as his co-workers look at a Heimlich maneuver poster.

This news item was also reported by Ron Dippold (rdippold@cancun.qualcomm.com).

E! (Entertainment Television)

Ron Carter {rc} follows up on this with the E! story:

    E! showed the clip where this happens; how the kids possibly
    learned the Heimlich from this is a wonder... E! also had
    OFFC (Our Favorite Family Creator) Matt Groening who said,
    (paraphrased) ``We're shocked... We never intended to teach
    anything to anybody... It will never happen again...''

As usual, MG gives the situation an cynical twist.

The song

Lyrics were not credited, though my guess is that Jeff Martin wrote it.
Sung to the music of ``Talkin' Baseball''.

Well, Mr. Burns had done it.            [Burns laughs]
The power plant had won it.             [Charlie scores winning run]
With Roger Clemens clucking
    all the while.                      [Clemens clucking on the mound]
Mike Scioscia's tragic illness
    made us smile.                      [Scioscia being Geigered]
While Wade Boggs lay unconscious on
    the barroom tile.                   [Barney punches Boggs]

We're talkin'...
Softball.                               [Various people hit the ball]
From Maine to San Diego.
Talking'...                             [Homer's slo-mo homer]
Mattingly and Canseco.                  [Mattingly answers the door]
                                        [Canseco heads into the fire]
Ken Griffey's grotesquely swollen jaw.  [Griffey wheeled into the hospital]
Steve Sax and his run-in with the law.  [Sax arrested and in the clink]
We're talkin' Homer...                  [Homer tips his cap]
    Ozzie, and the Straw.               [Smith at bunting practice]
                                        [Strawberry lands after leaping catch]

We're talkin'...
Softball.                               [Beer warmups]
From Maine to San Diego.                [Apu and another man pitch]
Softball.                               [Burns gives the signals]
Mattingly and Canseco.                  [Mattingly's haircut]
                                        [Canseco rescues a dryer]
Ken Griffey's grotesquely swollen jaw.  [Clips of Griffey swilling tonic]
Steve Sax and his run-in with the law.  [Police car in rear-view mirror]
We're talkin' Homer...                  [Homer's game-winning hit-by-pitch]
    Ozzie, and the Straw.               [Smith falling]
                                        [Strawberry sheds a tear]

Missing scenes

There were some scenes in the trailers for this episode which didn't make
it to air.

    * Barney and Wade Boggs get into a burping contest.

noel@umbc1.umbc.edu describes:

    [Wade Boggs and Barney are facing each other at a table]
    Wade:   [buuuurp]
    Barney: You call that a burp? [buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp]
    Wade:   [handing Barney money]  Okay, you win.

Comments and other observations

For non-Americans (or non-baseball fans)

With help from Kent A. Neier (neierka@victoria.cs.rose-hulman.edu)
               Ted Frank {thf}

    Jose Canseco and Darryl Strawberry have a reputation for being selfish
    and insensitive.  Canseco is also accused of being money-grubbing
    (at one point being among the top five highest-paid players), and he
    was romantically linked with Madonna for a brief while.  (His wife
    didn't take kindly to this.)

    The chant of ``Darryl...'' was a taunt started by the `fans' at Shea
    (the home stadium of the New York Mets, Strawberry's former team).
    It has since spread elsewhere.

    Don Mattingly got into trouble with management when they insisted
    he trim his long hair.  George Steinbrenner is the former general
    manager of the New York Yankees (Mattingly's team) who was known
    for being unreasonably demanding.

    Roger Clemens has had run-ins with the police, belying his position
    as a security guard.  His clucking like a chicken is a reference
    to Mark `The Bird' Fidrych, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in the
    early 80's.  He would peck around the mound just like Roger did,
    and talk to the ball.  (He would also hand-sculpt the mound at
    the beginning of each inning.)  Fidrych's attempted comeback involved
    a well-publicized series of visits with a hypnotist.


Previous episodes

    [7F17] The Springfield Mystery Spot.  (``It's just a mud puddle.'')
    [8F08] ``It all started...''
    [8F08] ``It's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's invited.''
           Lisa Eyler {le} points out that Brain and Nerve tonics were
           not much more than souped up cough syrup.
           (Wasn't this an advertising slogan many years ago?)
    [8F16] ``Flanders, for the last time I'm sorry about the camcorder.
             I LOST IT!''  Where'd Marge get her camcorder from, mmmm? {je}
    [7F05] The outfield signs in Springfield Memorial Stadium.

The Mystery Spot

   Mystery Spots can be found in
        Santa Cruz, CA
        northern Michigan


At least this time, Homer was wearing the welding mask when he was using
the torch.

Quotes and scene summary

 At the plant, Homer digs into the donuts, eating a half dozen in rapid
   Homer: [scarfing down donuts]
   Lenny: Hey, Homer, slow down.  You're going to choke or something.
   Homer: Don't tell me how to eat donuts!  [starts choking]
   Karl:  [matter-of-factly] Hey, Homer's choking again.
   Lenny: Isn't there a first-aid chart around here somewhere?
   Karl:  Somebody scare him.
   Charlie: That's for the hiccups!
   -- Remain calm, dough-nut panic, ``Homer at the Bat''
 Lenny looks at the company bulletin board, on which is a Heimlich Maneuver
 poster.  ``Hey, look at this!''  But he was referring to the softball team
 sign-up sheet.  Homer finally dislodges the donut and eagerly signs up.
 He invites the others to sign up as well, but they don't share his
   Lenny: Homer, last year, we were 2 and 28.
   Homer: Look, I know it wasn't our best season...
   Lenny: Actually, it was.
   -- Room for improvement, ``Homer at the Bat''
 Homer tells them that this year will be different.  He has a secret weapon.
 The other employees muse about what this weapon could possibly be...
 Charlie imagines that Homer has a giant glove.  Karl imagines Homer
 is able to sproing from base to base.  Lenny imagines Homer having a
 death ray, with which he incinerates the opposition.  Everybody signs
 up eagerly.

 In the Simpsons 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.
   -- A Homer-made bat, ``Homer at the Bat''
 Homer explains...
   It all started last year during a terrible thunderstorm, when I locked
   myself out of the house.  Shelving myself with a large piece of sheet metal,
   I ran for cover under the tallest tree I could find!
   -- Homer Simpson, Safety Inspector, ``Homer at the Bat''
 A bolt of lightning strikes the tree, and a large branch falls to the
 ground, the point at which it had been joined to the tree still glowing.
 ``Something told me this was a very special, very magical piece of wood...
 that I could make a bat out of.''  Putting his homemade football on hold,
 Homer sets to work planing, sawing, nailing (?), and acetylene torching (!)
 the branch.
   Homer: [working to build a baseball bat in the garage]
   Marge: Homey, come to bed.
          [scene change:  Marge is in bed, as wood shavings flick onto her
           from Homer's woodwork in bed]
          Homer, go back to the garage.
   -- Yessss, master, ``Homer at the Bat''
 Homer shows Bart the bat.
   Bart:  [sees Homer's homemade bat]  Wow!  How many home runs you gonna
          hit with that?
   Homer: Let's see.  We play thirty games.  Ten at-bats a game.  Mmm...
          Three thousand.
   -- Back-of-the-envelope calculations, ``Homer at the Bat''
 At the softball field, the police force team faces the nuclear power plant
 team.  After some warm-up, the umpire briefs the teams on the ground rules.
   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.
   Chief Wiggum:  [in baseball uniform]  Hey, we know how to play softball.
   -- The canonical softball drinking game, ``Homer at the Bat''
 The field is set...
   Umpire: Play ball!
   Chief Wiggum: [steps to the plate]
   Police radio: Attention all units!  Attention all units!
           Armored car being robbed at 59th and...
   Chief Wiggum: Turn off that damn radio!
   -- Please arrange to have your car robbed only during normal business hours,
      ``Homer at the Bat''
 Marge and the kids are in the stands watching the game.  Marge has a
 video camcorder (borrowed from Ned, no doubt) and narrates the game.
   And the man wants to hit the ball, too.  [crack!]  And he does.
   And there he goes, off in that direction.  And everyone is happy.
   -- Marge Simpson does the play-by-play, ``Homer at the Bat''
 Despite Bart's offer to help, Marge maintains that she can handle the
 play-by-play herself.  The police team hit a homer run and shoot their
 guns in celebration.  (``Hey, stop that!'' scolds Chief Wiggum.)

 The game is in the bottom of the ninth, two out, the police up 5 to 2,
 the bases are loaded, and it's Homer turn at bat.  It's secret weapon
 time, but when his teammates see that it's his magic bat, they take the
 opportunity to make fun of it.  (``And I have an enchanted jockstrap,''
 kids Karl.)

 Homer steps to the plate, and it's a homer for Homer.  (The ball sails
 past the fence to a picnic area, striking a man on his head as he is
 about to eat a sandwich.)  Homer taunts the losing team.  (``Ha ha,
 cops can't win!''  ``Get his licence and registration,'' orders Chief

 At home, Homer reviews the videotape as Bart and Lisa admire.
   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.
   -- Beer and beer alike, ``Homer at the Bat''
 But first, Homer re-watches the game-winning hit in super-slow-motion.
 (His ample belly provides considerable jiggle.)

 The nuclear plant team plays against several other opponents, and Homer's
 enchanted bat continues its magic.  The other players on the team
 have their own `magic bats', made from such curious objects as a piano leg
 and a wooden leg.

 At the Millionaire's Club atop the Springfield Trade Center, Smithers
 informs Burns of the team's success; they need only defeat Shelbyville
 next week to capture the pennant.  Burns' lunch companion is Ari
 Amodopoulos, who challenges Burns' confidence in his team.
   Ari:   Would you care to bet a million dollars on that?
   Burns: Oh, if we're going to bet, why don't we make it interesting!
   Ari:   What, a million dollars isn't interesting to you?
   Burns: Oh, did you say a million?  I'm, I'm sorry, my mind was elsewhere.
          I thought you would start with a small amount, then we would
          bait each other, and, well, you know how it goes.
          Yes, certainly, a million would be fine.  [handshake]
   -- But gambling is illegal in 48 states... ``Homer at the Bat''
 [End of Act One]

 In Burns' office...
   Burns:    Smithers, I've been thinking.  Is it wrong to cheat to win
             a million-dollar bet?
   Smithers: Yes, sir.
   Burns:    Let me rephrase that.  Is it wrong if <I> cheat to win a
             million-dollar bet?
   Smithers: No, sir.  Who would you like killed?
   -- Burns remembers to phrase it as an ethical question, ``Homer at the Bat''
 Burns had in mind hiring ringers for the team.  He unveils a
 chart of a baseball diamond, with names like Honus Wagner and
 Mordecai ``Three-Finger'' Brown.  Smithers points out that all of the
 plays have retired, and are long dead.  (``In fact, your right fielder
 has been dead for 130 years.'')  So Burns sends Smithers out to scour
 the American, National, and Negro Leagues to find players.  He has 24 hours.

 At an autograph session...
   Smithers: [whispers in Jose Canseco's ear]
   Jose:     I get $50,000 to play one game?
   Smithers: That's right, Mr. Canseco.
   Jose:     Well, it's a pay cut, but what the hey.  It sounds like fun.
   -- For love of money, ``Homer at the Bat''
 Smithers scrambles through the woods and narrowly escapes being shot at.
   Smithers: [in the woods, a bullet grazes his shoulder]
   Hunter:   Hey, sorry.  I thought you were a deer.
   Smithers: Heh heh, that's okay.  Happens all the time.
   -- ``Homer at the Bat''
 The hunter is none other than Mike Scioscia, who muses that he sometimes
 wishes he were doing something a little more blue-collar, ``with big
 machines and cool dials and stuff.  Like an oil refinery, or hydro-electric

 At Graceland, the tour guide shows Elvis's three television sets.
 There, Smithers approaches Ozzie Smith.

 Smithers rings a doorbell, and the door is answered by Don Mattingly,
 who was doing the dishes.  Mattingly eagerly invites Smithers in.

 Smithers invites Steve Sax, who was performing with the Steve Sax Trio.

 At a company meeting, Burns introduces security guard Roger Clemens,
 janitor Wade Boggs, lunchroom cashier Ken Griffey, Jr., and Steve Sax,
 Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Ozzie Smith, Mike Scioscia, and Jose
 Canseco (for whom he'll make up jobs later).  The employees are
 impressed until they realize that the players are joining the softball
 team.  Lenny complains, ``Mr. Burns, with them on the team, you won't
 need us!''  Burns replies, ``Well, DUH!''

 Burns orders Scioscia to sign up, but Mike is excited about working the
 solid contaminant encapsulator.  ``One more outburst like that and I'll
 send you back to the big leagues.''
   Homer:  You're Darryl Strawberry.
   Darryl: Yes?
   Homer:  You play right field.
   Darryl: Yes?
   Homer:  I play right field, too.
   Darryl: So?
   Homer:  Well, are you better than me?
   Darryl: Well, I never met you... but... Yes.
   -- Any questions? ``Homer at the Bat''
 At dinner, Homer grouses that the whole team worked hard to reach the
 championship game, only to be replaced.  Meanwhile, Maggie feeds her
 Brussel sprouts to SLH.
   Marge: What makes you think this Darryl Strawberry character is better
          than you?
   Homer: Marge, forget it.  He's bigger than me, faster than me, stronger
          than me, and he already has more friends around the plant than I do.
   Bart:  You make me sick, Homer.  You're the one who told me I could do
          anything if I just put my mind to it!
   Homer: Well, now that you're a little bit older, I can tell you that's
          a crock!  No matter how good you are at something, there's always
          about a million people better than you.
   Bart:  Gotcha.  Can't win, don't try.
   -- Lesson for the day, ``Homer at the Bat''
 The team is on the field for practice.  Burns is wearing an old-style
 uniform with ``Zephyrs'' on the front.  He lectures the players that
 they all have to earn their spot on the team.  And rather than beer,
 they are instead to drink a special nerve tonic which promotes health
 (though has also been known to cause gigantism, but only in rare cases).
 Ken Griffey, Jr. takes a sip and is hooked.  Time for the training to
 begin, and all groan when Smithers brings out the medicine balls.

 In the training room, everybody is working out, except for Homer, who
 is in one of those steam reducing gizmos.

 At the plate, Burns demonstrates how to bunt.  But when the ball hits
 the bat, Burns goes sailing into the backstop.
   Smithers: What are you going to do with the million dollars, sir?
   Burns:    Oh, I dunno.  Throw it on the pile, I suppose.
   -- Burns has bet $1 million on the softball team, ``Homer at the Bat''
 To help seal the victory, Burns hires a hypnotist.
   Hynpotist: You are all very good players...
   Team:      [entranced] We are all very good players...
   Hypnotist: You will beat Shelbyville...
   Team:      We will beat Shelbyville...
   Hypnotist: You will give one hundred and ten percent...
   Team:      That's impossible.  No one can give more than one hundred percent.
              By definition that is the most anyone can give...
   -- You own a mansion and a yacht...  ``Homer at the Bat''
 Back in the field, a fly ball is hit to Homer, but Darryl Strawberry
 leaps upwards out of frame to catch the ball.  When Homer complains,
 Darryl says to Burns, ``Some of these players have a bad attitude, Skip.''

 At the plant...
   Mike Scioscia: [pushing a wheelbarrow of glowing green goop]
   Karl:  [pulls up beside him with his own wheelbarrow of glowing green goop]
          Hey, Scioscia.  I don't get it.  You're a ringer, but you're here every
          night in the core, busting your butt hauling radioactive waste.
   Mike Scioscia: Well, Karl, it's such a relief from the pressures of playing
          big-league ball.  I mean, there, you make any kind of mistake, and
          boom, the press is all over you.  [accidentally spills his goop]
          Uh oh...
   Karl:  Ah, don't worry about it.
   Mike Scioscia: Oh man, is this ever sweet...
   -- ``Homer at the Bat''
 Bart and Ralph are choosing up sides for a pick-up baseball game.  Ken
 Griffey, Jr. stops by, and Ralph chooses him.  Bart, annoyed, chooses
 Milhouse.  Wade Boggs comes past, and Ralph picks him.  Bart reluctantly
 chooses Lewis.  Ralph chooses Jose Canseco.  (``D'oh!'')

 Burns orders Mattingly to get rid of his sideburns.  Curiously, Mattingly
 isn't wearing sideburns at all.

 Homer steps to the plate with WonderBat.  Roger Clemens throws the ball
 so fast, it burns Homer's bat in two.

 It's the day before the game, and Burns gives his team some final advice.
 (Darryl Strawberry chimes in sycophantically.)
   Now, before I post the starting line-up, I want to assure those of you
   whose names are not on the list... that I'm very disappointed in you.
   -- Monty Burns, softball team manager, ``Homer at the Bat''
   Homer: Please please please, I want to make the team.  [catches Roger Clemens]
          Clemens, did I make the team?
   Roger: You sure did!
   Homer: I did!  Woo-hoo!  Woo-hoo!  In your face, Strawberry!
   Roger: Wait a minute, are you Ken Griffey, Jr.?
   Homer: No.
   Roger: Sorry.  Didn't mean to get your hopes up.
   -- ``Homer at the Bat''
 [End of Act Two]

 In his office, Burns gloats that there's no way he could lose his bet.
 ``Unless, of course, my nine all-stars fall victim to nine separate
 misfortunes and are unable to play tomorrow.  But that will never happen.
 Three misfortunes, that's possible.  Seven misfortunates, there's an
 outside chance.  But nine misfortunes?  I'd like to see that!''

 His wish is the writer's command.

 Steve Sax is pulled over by the two cops.  When they see that he's from
 New York City, the haul him into jail, since there's an unsolved murder
 in the Big Apple.

 Mike Scioscia lies in a hospital bed, a nearby Geiger counter clicking away.
   Dr. Hibbert:  Uh, Mike, try to lift your arm.
   Mike Scioscia: Can't... lift... arm... or... speak... at... normal... rate...
   -- ``Homer at the Bat''
 Thanks to acute radiation poisoning, he's out of the game.  Ken Griffey,
 Jr. is wheeled in, his head swollen to gargantuan proportions, thanks to
 the nerve tonic.

 Jose Canseco is walking down the street when he passes a burning house.
 The woman outside pleads for him to rescue her baby.  Being the kind,
 generous soul that he is, Jose rushes into the burning house and emerges
 with the child.  She then hears her cat, and Jose rescues it as well.
 She hears her player piano.  Jose pulls up his collar and heads back in

 In bed...
   Homer: Oh, one thing I'm good at and I can't do it any more.
   Marge: Homey, you're good at lots of things.
   Homer: Like what?
   Marge: Like snuggling?  [snuggles up to him]
   Homer: Yeah.  but none of my friends can watch me.
   -- It's an indoor sport, ``Homer at the Bat''
 At Moe's Tavern...
   Barney: And I say, England's greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!
   Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!!
   Barney: Lord Palmerston!!!
   Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!!!!  [pokes Barney]
   Barney: Okay, you asked for it, bud!  [punches him out]
   Moe:    Yeah, that's showing him, Barney!  [scoffing]  Pitt the Elder...
   Barney: Lord Palmerston!!!! [punches Moe]
   -- ``Homer at the Bat''
 Chief Wiggum congratulates his boys.  ``I think we can close the book on
 every unsolved crime in our fair city.''  Sax asks to call his lawyer.
 ``You watch too many movies, Sax.''

 Ozzie Smith pays a visit to the ``Springfield Mystery Spot''.
 He buys a ticket and goes in.  We hear a falling scream.

 At the Simpsons house...
   Homer: Where do you think you're going?
   Lisa:  To the game.
   Homer: No no no.  I don't want you to see me sit on my worthless butt.
   Bart:  We've seen it, Dad.
   -- ``Homer at the Bat''
 Burns again tells Mattingly to get rid of his sideburns.  Mattingly tries
 to explain that he isn't wearing sideburns, but Monty won't hear anything
 of it and sends him off.  Smithers gives Burns the reports on the missing
 players.  Ozzie Smith is still falling.  (He takes a snapshot on the way
 down.)  Jose Canseco is still rescuing household appliances from the
 burning house.  (``The dryer goes on the right.'')  Roger Clemens thinks
 he's a chicken.  Burns threatens the hypnotist, who merely pulls out
 his watch.  (``But I did a <good> job... a <good> job...'')  Burns is won
 over.  Mattingly arrives, his sideburns shaved up almost to the top of his
 head.  But Monty isn't impressed.  ``I thought I told you to trim those
 sideburns!''  He throws him off the team.  (Says Mattingly to himself,
 ``I still like him better than Steinbrenner.'')  Monty gives an inspiring
 non-speech to his players, who rush onto the field.  All except Homer, since
 Darryl Strawberry is suited up for the game.

 Lisa and Bart taunt Strawberry with the infamous ``Darryl...'' chant.
 Marge scolds the kids, but Lisa explains that they're professional athletes,
 ``It rolls right off their backs.''  Darryl Strawberry sheds a tear.

 The peanuts vendor appears and throws his wares haphazardly about.  One
 bag land on the field, another in the parking lot.

 Monty asks Smithers to massage his brain when he realizes that it's his
 managerial skills which will have to save the day.  He orders Strawberry
 to hit a home run.  And he does.  (``I told him to do that.'')

 Marge videotapes Homer on the bench, but when Homer reaches down to scratch
 himself in that place baseball players (and Roseanne Arnold) always
 scratch themselves, Marge quickly turns the camera away.  ``Children, tell
 me when your father stops scratching himself.''  Time passes.  ``Kids?''
 Bart replies, ``We'll tell you, Mom.''

 The game is tied, it's the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded,
 there are two outs, and Strawberry is due to bat.  Even though Darryl
 has hit nine home runs, Burns sends him to the showers because Strawberry
 and the pitcher are both left-handed.  (``It's called playing the
 percentages.'')  He sends Homer, a righty, to the plate instead.  Burns
 reviews the signals with Homer.  Burns' explanation goes on and on, and
 Homer's mind wanders.  ``I wish I was home with a big bag of potato
 chips.  Mmm... potato chips...''

 Homer steps to the plate.  Marge and the kids cheer.  Everyone else boos.
 Monty goes into a totally bizarre sequence of signs from the third base
 coach's box, and while Homer merely stares, confused, the pitch hits him
 in the head, knocking him unconscious.  But the good news, is that by
 getting hit by the pitch, Homer wins the game.  ``I guess he'll be happy
 when he comes to,'' notes Marge.  The runner from third has to push
 Homer's body aside to step on the plate.  The team carry Homer's unconscious
 body off the field on their shoulders.

 Everybody is gathered together for a team picture.

 [End of Act Three]

 The scene, a baseball stadium.  The picture fades to black-and-white, and
 acquires the streaks and graininess of an old movie.  Terry Cashman sings
 ``Talkin' Baseball'', but with new lyrics suited to the episode.

 Instead of ``Shhh...'', we hear the crack of a bat.
 The Gracie theme is played by a stadium organ.

 The Twentieth Century Fox logo is unchanged.

 [End of credits]
   Episode summaries Copyright 1992 by Raymond Chen.  Not to be redistributed
   in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes themselves, of course,
   remain the property of The Simpsons, and the reproduced articles remain
   the property of the original authors.  I'm just taking credit for the

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