Episode - 8F13
First Aired - 2/20/1992Baseball Episode where Homer and his homemade bat carry the power plants softball team into the championship game. However, Mr. Burns hires a team of Major League Baseball players to guarantee a victory and win a million dollar bet.
This episode contains examples of:
- And the Rest: When Mr. Burns introduces his Super Ringers:Burns: Now, I'd like to introduce the new members of our happy power plant family. Our security guard, Roger Clemens.
Burns: Our janitor, Wade Boggs.
Boggs: How you doing?
Burns: Our lunchroom cashier, Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey: Hey, what's up, guys?
Burns: Our new— well, uh, we'll make up jobs for these fellas later. Say hello to Steve Sax, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Ozzie Smith, Mike Scioscia, and Jose Canseco.
- As Himself: Wade Boggs, José Canseco, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Mike Scoscia, Ozzie Smith, and Darryl Strawberry are the ringers Mr. Burns hires. Musician Terry Cashman sings a version of his song "Talkin' Baseball" based on the events of the episode during the credits.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: While screaming in the Springfield Mystery Spot, Ozzie Smith pauses to take a picture.
- Back for the Finale: Ozzie Smith appears on the ending group photo in astral form, due to being trapped in another dimension.
- Bait and Switch: When Homer chokes on a donut, Lenny looks for a first-aid chart and appears to find one for the Heimlich Maneuver, but he's actually making note of a notice for softball sign-ups. (Fortunately, Homer manages to cough up the donut.)
- Black Comedy: "Mike Scioscia's tragic illness made us smile." Said illness being radiation poisoning from working at the Springfield nuclear plant.
- Blunt "Yes": Homer finds himself on the receiving end of several of these in a row.Homer: You're Darryl Strawberry!Strawberry: Yes.Homer: You play right field.Strawberry: Yes.Homer: I play right field too.Strawberry: So?Strawberry: Well, I've never met you, but... yes.
- Down to the Last Play: Homer is called upon to pinch-hit for Darryl Strawberry with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Thanks to Mr. Burns and his weird Hand Signals, Homer becomes distracted and gets knocked-out by a pitch to the head, forcing the winning run to score.
- Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: The reason why Jose Canseco couldn't make it to the game is because he is too busy saving a baby, a cat, and a series of appliances from a house fire.
- Exact Words: Mr. Burns states that, although there is an outside chance of seven misfortunes, nine misfortunes befalling his players is virtually impossible. This proves accurate as nothing happens to either Darryl Strawberry (who Burns sends to the showers during the last play, since he wants to play the precentages and pit a right-handed batter against a Southpaw pitcher) or Don Mattingly (who was kicked off the team by Burns for his non-existent sideburns).
- Gretzky Has the Ball: Lisa erroneously says Homer's hit by pitch counts as a hit.
- Half Way Plot Switch: The first act revolves around Homer and his "magic" bat, but afterwards the plot switches to the Ringers Mr. Burns hires. The bat even breaks during the first practice with the pros.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Seeing Jose Canseco lifting all those heavy appliances out of a house fire has a different meaning now, after it was revealed that he was using steroids throughout his career.
- Hypno Fool: Zig-Zagged: Burns hires a hypnotist/motivational speaker for the team, only for his attempt to make the team give more than they had already ("110%") be defeated by the entire team, while hypnotized, point out that it's impossible for someone to give more than 100%. Then one of the Super Ringer members turns out to have reacted bad to the hypnotic therapy and ends the episode thinking he's a chicken. And when Burns gets on the hypnotist's face about that faux pas, the hypnotist hypnotizes Burns into forgiving him.
- Jerkass: The woman whose house is burning down, making José Canseco get everything out of the house for her and then complaining that the dryer goes elsewhere.
- Eddie and Lou. See Police Brutality below.
- Karma Houdini: The hypnotist. Read above on Hypno Fool.
- Police Brutality: Steve Sax is arrested for just about every unsolved crime in New York City by the Springfield Police for no particular reason. Also Disproportionate Retribution.
- Rousing Speech: Parodied:Mr. Burns: All right, you Ragtag Bunch of Misfits! You hate me, and I hate you even more! But without my beloved ringers, you're all I've got. So I, uh, want you to remember something inspiring that someone else may have told you during the course of your lives, and go out there and win!
- Also Averted with the hypnotist:Hypnotist: You are all very good players.Players: [chanting in unison] We are all very good players.Hypnotist: You will beat Shelbyville.Players: [chanting in unison] We will beat Shelbyville.Hypnotist: You will give one hundred and ten percent.Players: [chanting in unison] That's impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give.
- Also Averted with the hypnotist:
- Running Gag: Darryl Strawberry being a kiss-ass to Mr. Burns.
- Serious Business: Barney and Wade Boggs both take their British politics very seriously, to the point where Barney knocks Wade Boggs unconscious simply for disagreeing with him on who the best British prime minister was: Lord Palmerston or Pitt the Elder.Moe: That's showin' him, Barney! (derisively) "Pitt the Elder"...
Barney: Loooooooord Palmerston!!!
(Moe has an Oh Crap! look; Barney punches him too)
- Super Ringer: Burns' plan to win against Shelbyville is getting an entire teams' worth of these. Subverted in that, in the end, only one of them (Darryl Strawberry with nine home runs) ends up doing anything (most of them don't even arrive to the game).
- Take That: After Mr. Burns kicks Mattingly off the team for not getting rid of his nonexistent sideburns, Mattingly notes that he "still like[s] [Burns] better than Steinbrenner."
- Tempting Fate: Subverted. Burns finding the idea that his nine players would befall nine calamities before the Shelbyville game hilarious. By the time of the game, only seven players were subject to ridiculous calamities. Mattingly is kicked off because he still didn't get rid of the nonexistent sideburns Burns kept screaming about, and Strawberry still makes it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out how (or if) Ozzie Smith escaped from the Springfield Mystery Spot.
- Whole Plot Reference: To The Natural, particularly the film version starring Robert Redford as a baseball player using a a bat of Thunderbolt Wood from a lightning-struck tree.
- You Have 48 Hours: Mr. Burns gives Smithers only 24 hours to recruit a bunch of professional ringers for his company softball team.