This episode may be one of my all-time favorites.
Yes, we’ll be talking softball, from Maine to San Diego. Softball, with Mattingly and Canseco. Terry Cashman singing a catchy song. Steve Sax and his run-in with the law. We’re talking Homer, Ozzie, and the Straw.
Our story begins with a sequence where Homer almost chokes to death on donuts, and is saved by no real reason, but the Heimlich poster actually taught a real world kid how to do it to save a life, so there’s that.
Softball sign-ups are out, and Homer has a secret weapon this time, a homemade magic bat that he made himself. Somehow he needed nails and a welding torch to make it, too.
And it works! Wonderbat hits home runs, allowing the Springfield Nuclear Plant’s company softball team to win game after game, and it was going so well until Mr. Burns found out and made a million dollar bet with the owner of the Shelbyville plant, Aristotle Amadopoulos. Then the team gets arguably better with the ringers Burns recruits.
Actually, it’s the ringers Smithers recruits, because all of Burns’ choices were retired and dead, especially one who hadn’t walked the land of the living for 130 years.
There’s a certain silliness to the fact that when Burns posts the starting line-up, all the players check for their names, even though it should be obvious the major leaguers are the only names up there.
Yes, it is going Burns’ way, until the disasters. Mike Scioscia may die of radiation poisoning since he really did want to work in the plant. Jose Canseco is rescuing everything from a burning building. Wade Boggs learns Barney really cares about British history. Ken Griffey Jr. overdoses on nerve tonic. Gigantism! Steve Sax was charged with every crime Chief Wiggum and his boys could think of.
Poor Ozzie Smith disappears off the face of the Earth. At least he got a cool picture in there.
Even the players who show up have problems. Roger Clemmons thinks he’s a chicken (and he really was doing the clucking). Don Mattingly just did not get rid of his sideburns.
But Darryl Strawberry? Team kiss-up? The guy playing Homer’s position? No, he was there.
Burns’ management style means he does things that don’t make sense, and Homer somehow gets the last at-bat. And he gets a hit…right to the head. It’s a Homer all right. He won the game and didn’t know it.
Well, there’s only way to end this…