Super Safi’s Monday Morning Musings 52 – Professional Baseball Players

Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!

(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)

Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.

And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?

So let’s get started this week by talking about the professional baseball players who appeared in my favourite episode of The Simpsons (also Alissa’s facourite episode).

In the fifty second episode of The Simpsons, Homer at the Bat (Season 03, Episode 15), Homer with the help of his home made bat, “Wonder Bat”, leads his undefeated team to the Championship game. But when Mr. Burns discusses the championship against Aristotle Amadopolis Shelbyville team, the two millionaires decide to put a $1,000,000.00 wager on the game.

Eager to win the million dollar bet, Mr. Burns decides to bring in a group of professional baseball players to help his plant win the Championship. But when Smithers points out all the players Mr. Burns wants are long retired or dead, he tasks Smithers with finding some professionals. When Smither hires the 9 professional baseball players, Mr. Burns introduces them to the Plant and allows them to join the softball team.

While the Plant players are upset they won’t get to play, calamity ensues for most of the professional baseball players and eventually all the Plant players get to play in the big game and help Mr. Burns and Springfield Nuclear Power Plant win the championship.

But have you ever wondered who those professional baseball players were?

 

Roger Clemens

Roger “Rocket” Clemens (born August 4, 1962) was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (1984–1996), Toronto Blue Jays (1997–1998), New York Yankees (1999–2003), Houston Astros (2004–2006), and New York Yankees (2007). He was an 11 time All Star, 2 time World Series Champion, 7 time Cy Young Award winner, the 1986 American League Most Valuable Player, and pitched for the Triple Crown in back-to-back year with my Toronto Blue Jays in 1997 and 1998. A member of the All Century Team, alleged steroid use has kept him out of the Baseball Hall of Fame for now.

In the episode, Roger Clemens is made to act like a chicken by the team’s hypnotist.

Mike Scioscia

Mike Scioscia (born November 27, 1958) was a catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1980–1992). He was a 2 time All Star and 2 time World Series Champion as a player. Post-playing career, he served as manager of the Anaheim Angels/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels (2000–2018) winning another World Series and twice being selected as American League Manager of the Year.

In the episode, Mike Scioscia gets radiation poisoning from working at the plant, with it being estimated that he likely won’t survive the night.

Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly (born April 20, 1961) was a first baseman for the New York Yankees (1982–1995). He was a 6 time All Star, 9 time Gold Glove winner, 3 time Silver Slugger, and the 1985 American League Most Valuable Player. Post-playing career, he served as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers (2011–2015) and currently of the Miami Marlins (2016–present) winning last seasons 2020 National League Manager of the Year.

In the episode, Don Mattingly is cut because of his sideburns, which only Mr. Burns believes exist.

Steve Sax

Steve Sax (born January 29, 1960) was a second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1981–1988), New York Yankees (1989–1991), Chicago White Sox (1992–1993), and Oakland Athletics (1994). He was a 5 time All Star, 2 time World Series Champion, and the 1982 National League Rookie of the Year.

In the episode, Steve Sax is arrested because the Springfield Police believe he is responsible for all of New York’s unsolved crimes, with him looking at six consecutive life sentences as a result.

Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs (born June 15, 1958) was a third baseman for the Boston Red Sox (1982–1992), New York Yankees (1993–1997), and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998–1999). He was a 12 time All Star, 1 time World Series Champion, 2 time Gold Glove winner, 8 time Silver Slugger, and is member of the 3,000 hit club. He was a first ballot Baseball Hall of Fame inductee in 2005.

In the episode, Wade Boggs gets punched out by Barney at Moe’s Tavern during a heated argument over who is the greatest Prime Minister of England. Barney argues for Lord Palmerston, and Boggs supports Pitt the Elder.

Ozzie Smith

Ozzie “the Wizard of Oz” Smith (born December 26, 1954) was a shortstop for the San Diego Padres (1978–1981) and St. Louis Cardinals (1982–1996). He was a 15 time All Star, 1 time World Series Champion, and 13 time Gold Glove winner. He was a first ballot Baseball Hall of Fame inductee in 2002.

In the episode, Ozzie Smith goes to “Springfield’s Mystery Spot” and suddenly vanishes.

Jose Canseco

Jose Canseco (born July 2, 1964) was an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics (1985–1992), Texas Rangers (1992–1994), Boston Red Sox (1995–1996), Oakland Athletics (1997), Toronto Blue Jays (1998), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1999–2000), New York Yankees (2000), and Chicago White Sox (2001). He was a 6 time All Star, 2 time World Series Champion, 4 time Silver Slugger, the 1986 American League Rookie of the Year, and the 1988 American League Most Valuable Player. Jose admitted to using performance-enhancing steroids during his major-league playing career and in 2005 wrote a tell-all book titled “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big“.

In the episode, Jose Canseco is too busy rescuing a woman, her baby, and her valuables from a fire.

Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken “the Kid” Griffey Jr. (born November 21, 1969) was an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners (1989–1999), Cincinnati Reds (2000–2008), Chicago White Sox (2008), and Seattle Mariners (2009–2010). He was a 13 time All Star, 10 time Gold Glove winner, 7 time Silver Slugger, and the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player. He was a first ballot Baseball Hall of Fame inductee in 2016.

In the episode, Ken Griffey Jr. overdoses on nerve tonic and develops gigantism.

Darryl Strawberry

Darryl “Straw” Strawberry (born March 12, 1962) was an outfielder for the New York Mets (1983–1990), Los Angeles Dodgers (1991–1993), San Francisco Giants (1994), and New York Yankees (1995–1999). He was an 8 time All Star, 4 time World Series Champion, 2 time Silver Slugger, and the 1983 National League Rookie of the Year. His playing career was however marred by substance abuse issues.

In the episode, he is the only pro to play in the big game, but in a questionable managerial decision at the time, is benched for Homer at the end of the game.

 

Now that we’ve learned more about the pros who Mr. Burns hired, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.

Did you remember Mr. Burns hiring ringers to play the championship game? Did you remember the name of all 9 pros? Which of the 9 had the best story in the episode? Which of the 9 is your favourite player? If they were to recreate this episode this year, who would you urge Mr. Burns to hire? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.

8 responses to “Super Safi’s Monday Morning Musings 52 – Professional Baseball Players

  1. Best part about this episode is how it (or Homer) has been enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And there is a display at the hall based around the episode.
    https://baseballhall.org/discover-more/news/homer-at-the-bat

  2. Classic episode of The Simpsons…an all-time great in my opinion. Also a reminder of just how long this series has been running…and how old I’m getting…lol….look at those players…lol. Unfortunately the game has gotten so long, slow, and too riddled in analytics to pay much attention to anymore. Safi..I’d be curious as to your thoughts on changes that could be made to improve the game, attract young players again, or bring excitement to the game,.or are you ok with status quo? As I recall…Alissa is a baseball fan as well? Your thoughts….either way, This is a great episode of the Simpsons.

    • That’s a tough challenge MLB has been facing since the steroid saga. They faced a similar challenge following the ’94 strike, but Cal Ripken’s Iron Man streak and than the McGwire/Sosa (and briefly Vaughn and Griffey Jr) Home Run chase captured fans.

      I think we need some sort of excitement like this. There’s a whole new generation of exciting kids (like right here in Toronto with Vladdy Jr, Biggio Jr, Bichette Jr, and around the league like Tatis Jr, Acuna Jr, Bellinger, Soto, Torres, Jimenez, Meadows, etc.) that the game needs to focus on to attract the younger demographic they are trying to reach. And in this day and age of snapchat and vines and short videos, it really needs exciting players doing exciting things (like bat flips) to attract that audience.

      The NHL and NBA have really been progressive when it comes to changing rules or realigning divisions. MLB introduced some new rules last season due to Covid that I thought were exciting, like starting extra innings with a ghost runner on base just to name one. But those moves did ruffle feathers of a lot of long time fans. MLB has to find a balance of retaining the older purist fans while attracting younger newer fans to the game.

      The old 5 day cricket test matches just did not work in the latter half of the last century, and even a full 8 hour one day was losing fans in recent years, so cricket reinvented itself with the action packed much faster T20 format.

      Baseball will eventually have to bite the bullet and make substantial rule changes. But I don’t think it’s at that point year. But probably some time in the next 30 to 50 years (I’d guess sometime between 2050-2075), baseball will be pretty different from the game we’ve been watching the past 130 years if it wants to stay one of the big four pro sports.

  3. Michael Caragliano

    All-time top five episode!!! My third-favorite line is when the hypnotist tells the players to give 110 per cent, and they all chant back “That’s impossible, by definition, 100 per cent is the most you can give.”

    FWIW, the Society of American Baseball Research (I’m a SABR member; between baseball and the Simpsons, it’s a wonder I graduated college) put out a book in 2016 called Nuclear Powered Baseball. It chronicles the lives of all the players in the episode, including the men on Burns’s original all-time team (second-favorite line, from Smithers: “Uh, sir, your right fielder has been dead for 130 years!”), as well as essays people have written specifically about that episode and the MoneyBart episode. Interesting read.

    Oh, favorite line: Burns throws Don Mattingly off the team, and he responds, “Still like him better than Steinbrenner.” Hey, I’m a Mets fan and it was 1992; we didn’t have much else to cheer for that year.

  4. Is this a hint as to the next event?

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