Recently, Deadspin fabulously commemorated the 20th anniversary of the famous Simpsons baseball episode Homer at the Bat that was a landmark episode and day for the animated show. As we have a few Simpsons fans on the AA staff, it got us reflecting on our lost youth and the best sports moments in the show's history (mostly from the first ten or so seasons when it was in its prime, ya know, before the Armin Tamzarian stuff happened). There are so many classic sporting moments from The Simpsons that it's impossible to name them all, but these are our favorites. Hope you enjoy...
Blythe Brumleve: Nothing beats the Simpsons classic years and one of the episodes that stands out most to me is when Mr. Burns buys himself a fantasy roster of softball players in that famous show. Fans who have seen the episode know that Mr. Burns quickly develops a hatred of sideburns and proceeds to berate Don Mattingly to shave his sideburns when none exist. Mattingly gets so fed up he ends up shaving a huge portion of his head that still that wasn't good enough for Mr. Burns. He leaves the team pissed off, but the Simpsons get a great shot at his employer at the time as Mattingly says, "Still like him over Steinbrenner."
Andrew Bucholtz: My favourite Simpsons sports bit is actually only about 30 seconds long, and it's just the coda to the superlative "You Only Move Twice" (one of my favourite episodes), but it's so perfectly spot-on. Earlier in the episode, Homer tells first his family, then megalomaniac/surprisingly great boss Hank Scorpio about his lifelong dream to own the Dallas Cowboys, and once he returns to Springfield from Cypress Creek, he gets a telegram from Scorpio that says "This will get you a little closer to that dream of yours. It's not the Dallas Cowboys, but it's a start," looks up, sees the Denver Broncos practising ineptly on the lawn, and reacts "Aw, the Denver Broncos!" The subsequent debate between Marge and Homer reveals so much about sports fandom; Marge thinks owning the Broncos is pretty good, while Homer responds "you just don't understand football."
Given the hardcore allegiances of many fans, that's perfectly true; perhaps not everyone would turn down a free NFL franchise, but I've met people who have refused gifts of hats, jerseys, etc., just because they don't align with the team they support. For some, that works just fine, but there are plenty of us like Marge who aren't as confined by team loyalties. It's yet another moment where the Simpsons brilliantly skewer society, they do it in just 30 seconds, and then they never speak of the implications of Homer (even briefly) owning an NFL team again. Perfect.
Brady Green: In my favorite Simpsons cameo by an athlete, Bart is in the middle of a crisis. Bart's on a pee wee football team coached by Homer and in a serious case of nepotism, has been promoted to starting quarterback in place of future All-American Nelson Muntz. This causes the team to go in a tailspin and everyone to hate Bart. Needing a miracle to win the big game, he gets it when Joe Namath strolls through his backyard while he is training after Namath's car stalls out in front of 742 Evergreen Terrace. Bart pleads for help and Broadway Joe is eager to assist. Right as Joe is leaning in to tell Bart the one secret of great quarterback play, Joe's lady alerts him that vapor lock was the culprit and the car is now fixed and he leaves immediately.
So Bart still stinks at football but selflessly volunteers to pretend to be Nelson when Wiggum comes to arrest him during the championship game. As Bart is being taken to the police station for Muntz' charges (burglary and arson), Muntz runs in the clinching touchdown. As the episode concludes, Namath once again appears to tell us about the danger and frequency of vapor lock, which he cites as the third most common cause of car stallings. See, you can really learn important things from The Simpsons.
Ryan Yoder: There are so many great sports moments in The Simpsons that it's hard to choose just one. From Homer battling Drederick Tatum to the Pin Pals to Mr. Burns pining for Mordecai "3 Finger" Brown. But, my favorite sports moment on the show had to be Bart and Lisa's showdown on the ice as Pee Wee hockey rivals. The episode had everything you would expect from the golden age of the show while pitting brother againt sister with Homer's oafish encouragement. At the end of their climactic battle, Bart and Lisa both turn down a chance at individual glory to end their heated game a draw, which brings both Homer and Marge to tears, but for different reasons.
Sure, the laughs come a mile a minute as Hans Moleman, Chief Wiggum, and Snake incite a riot in the background of Bart and Lisa's reconciliation. But The Simpsons at its best wasn't laughs alone. At its core, the show was always about a family who loved each other through the highs and lows of life. God, that sounds sappy doesnt it? But, it's true. And even to Homer's dismay, there's nothing more dramatic in real or animated life than sports.
Matt Yoder: My favorite Simpsons clip features two of my favorite things in life - golf and British sports announcers. Ironically, I picked another clip that ends in a draw as Ryan did, maybe that's some weird subconscious twin thing happening... after all, we were raised with this show. I'm going all the way back to the second season and Bart's mini golf tournament final with Todd Flanders.
This is an announcing blog after all, and it's the British mini golf announcer that I'll always remember from this show. The dialect, diction, vocabulary and everything about the Mini Golf Martin Tyler is incredible. Just look at this call as Bart and Todd go to the final hole. It's equal parts stereotypical, thoughtful, witty, and laugh out loud funny...
"If one were to look up courage in the Oxford English Dictionary, one might very well come upon a photo of these two gladiators. They approach the final hole in the shadow of the great emancipator deadlocked at eight strokes on the happy side of par. Soon, one man will emerge triumphant. He will drink not but champagne, while his opponent tastes bitter defeat in this oft cruel game."
The incredible and brilliant detail for the little things like this elegant British announcer is what set the Simpsons apart from other shows. Who else could capture (or would even bother capturing) the essence of the animated parody of Peter Alliss so perfectly? Of course, the nonsensical reality of an announcing crew covering a putt-putt tournament for ten year olds has to be given a tip of the cap as well...
A casually dressed Don Mattingly leaned back in his clubhouse chair admittedly much more relaxed his second time around as Dodgers manager.
Nobody will question that his first move of spring training is spot on: Mattingly wasted no time Tuesday choosing reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw as the opening day starter for Los Angeles come April 5 at San Diego - even if...
Say this about Don Mattingly, when he knows what he wants, he gets to it. Either that or hes wise enough to get the obvious out of the way in a hurry.
Players had barely completed their first-day greetings at Camelback Ranch spring training camp on Tuesday morning when Mattingly announced Clayton Kershaw would be the Dodgers opening-day starter April 5 in San Diego.
In other developments...
A casually dressed Don Mattingly leaned back in his clubhouse office chair admittedly much more relaxed the second time around as Dodgers manager. Nobody will question that his first move of spring training is spot on: Mattingly wasted no time Tuesday choosing reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw as the opening day starter for Los Angeles come April 5 at San Diego -...
PHOENIX (CBS) – Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talked to the media for the first time this Spring Training and announced Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day.
His most intriguing comments came when talking about 1B/OF Jerry Sands’ role with the team. ” Jerry was really good against lefties last year, but we’ve got to be able to get him x number of at-bats...
Left-hander, the National League Cy Young Award winner last season, was tabbed for the honor by Manager Don Mattingly for the second consecutive year.Reporting from Phoenix — What was long presumed became official Tuesday when Clayton Kershaw was selected the Dodgers' opening-day starter by Manager Don Mattingly .
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