They Gave 110% – Homer Simpson Enters Cooperstown

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Well, Mr. Burns had done it.
The Power Plant had won it
With Roger Clemens clucking all the while.
Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness made a smile.
As Wade Boggs lay unconscious on the ballroom tile…

I just want to give a quick bit of congratulations to The Simpsons for getting Homer Simpson into the Baseball Hall of Fame – primarily for their brilliant “Homer at the Bat”.

Probably the most memorable episode of The Simpsons third season (if not my personal favorite), “Homer at the Bat” really did strike gold as to the appeal enclosed. It was silly, both in the sheer amount of baseball legends it featured playing for the Power Plant and the situations they faced themselves in keeping them away from the championship. However, beneath that was the idea of a small softball club getting taken over by baseball supremos, and our hapless and quirky protagonist getting shafted to the side, absolutely crushing him. It also played with sports cliches – Homer doesn’t go back in because his replacement was unavailable or out of sympathy, but out of strategy. There was no “save the orphanage” trope – it was all just to add another $1M to the pile.

It also played with sports cliches – Homer doesn’t go back in because his replacement was unavailable or out of sympathy, but out of strategy. There was no “save the orphanage” trope – it was all just to add another $1M to the pile of a multimillionaire’s vault of money. The reasons why the legends wound up taken out show the idiocy, selfishness, and bouts of just plain insanity in Springfield. (“Pitt. The. ELDER!” “Lord Palmerston!”) And the win? It was not heroic and dramatic at all. It expands not just the universe on a large-scale level, but a more local level, also.

Oh, there’s also the small matter of the episode being the first to outdraw The Cosby Show in the ratings. Yup, this was the episode that proved that The Simpsons were the show to watch, and that for good or for ill, that they were here to stay.

Other episodes were cited as well – the rather emotional yet still brilliant “Dancing Homer”, focusing on Homer’s brief stint as a baseball mascot, and the quirky “Hungry Hungry Homer”, which had him take up a protest to keep up his hometown team. It’s been a while since I saw the latter, admittedly, but I will attest to the former also being a damn fine reason for induction – a brilliant analysis on the league system of Baseball through the eyes of a mascot. (“That stuff may play in the sticks, but this is Capital City!)

Still, there’s a reason “Homer at the Bat” has gotten so much praise from the baseball community. It’s hilarious, quotable, and yet still felt like the writers gave their all in it – doing their research and writing such vibrant comedy without sacrificing the show’s traces of heart. It deserves to be a reason for putting Homer Jay Simpson amongst the greats of America’s pastime – as both a parody and a loving tribute. The national pastime truly becomes one with probably the most influential TV show in American history… how poignant.

We’re talkin’ softball, from Maine to San Diego.
Talkin’ softball, Mattingly and Canseco
Ken Griffey’s grotesquely swollen jaw.
Steve Sax, and his run-in with the law.
We’re talking Homer, Ozzie and the Straw…

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