The Simpsons has been on the air since 1989. After 34 seasons and over 700 episodes, you’re bound to repeat a few gags, jokes, and (gasp) maybe even plot points. According to the Simpsons Wiki, there have been 24 episodes where a character gets married, ten road trips, ten episodes where the family moves (including one on this list), five first days of school, and a whopping six Doomsdays.

There have also been five baseball-oriented episodes. So here they are, ranked by a fan of both baseball and The Simpsons:  

5. Dancin’ Homer (Season 2, Episode 5)

Even though the show was a hit right out of the gate, it’s fairly agreed-upon that The Simpsons didn’t find its footing until a few seasons into its now-historic run. So this Season 2 stinker can’t really be held against it. It’s also barely baseball related, with Homer becoming a butt-swinging mascot for the local minor-league Springfield Isotopes. There’s no particular reason that he couldn’t be a cheerleader for the football team or basketball team, so aside from a few decent chuckles, it could just as easily be any other sport or situation.

(Solid joke alert!)
Homer: “You know, boy, some of the players you see tonight may make it to the big leagues someday
Bart: “What? Aren’t we going to see any washed-up major leaguers?”
Homer: “Sure! We get a nice mix here.”

This episode illustrated some early series kinks that needed to be worked out, and it ultimately lands flat 30-some years later. 

4. Hungry, Hungry Homer (Season 12, Episode 15)

Everything before the first commercial break is baseball-less, but the rest is about Homer discovering that the Isotopes are being moved from Springfield to Albuquerque. He spends the rest of the show trying to draw attention to the evil corporate owners, Duff Beer (they at least got the shady ownership part of baseball right), who were abandoning the city and stealing their beloved franchise.


(Decent sports talk radio joke alert!)
“They’re secretly planning to move the team to Albuquerque.”
“That’s crazy! It would’ve been on a talk radio show like Sports Chat…or Sportzilla and the Jabber Jocks!”

The episode is fine, but the real impact from this show is that the real-life Albuquerque minor league team is now called the Isotopes! After the episode aired in 2001, the Calgary Cannons moved to New Mexico in 2003. Since their move, they’re a sub-.500 team (win-loss record of 1,307 – 1,389), so the only real draws at the ballpark (assuming you don’t want to check out the Rockies’ AAA guys, but who would?) are the statues of Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa. Sadly, there is no Maggie statue. 


3. The Boys of Bummer (Season 18, Episode 18)

The (little league) baseball is pretty light in this episode, as a considerable amount of time is spent on Homer and Marge tracking down a mattress that makes them incredibly horny. I wish I was kidding. 

Meanwhile, Bart’s team, the Springfield Isotots (complete with atomic logos on their hats, just like the minor league Isotopes) is headed to the Championship game after Bart made the winning catch in the semi-finals. With the whole town in attendance, all eyes are on Bart to watch him do the same in the big game. 

(Great joke alert!)
Lisa: “All this fuss for a baseball game? Why don’t thousands come to watch a teacher inspire a child?”
Homer: “But that did happen. Just yesterday, in

They’re up 5-2, but the other team has loaded the bases. With two outs, the ball finds Bart…who can’t seem to find it. He bobbles it long enough to give up an inside-the-park grand slam (Jarren Duran, anyone?) and lose the game. The crowd responds by throwing beer and heckling Bart for days, weeks. The incident even devalues the dollar bill – it’s that much of a societal emergency. The jokes run up pretty fast. The sign outside of Springfield Little League Park (three seconds into the episode) is not only the best joke of the show, it foreshadows all that is yet to come:


2. Homer at the Bat (Season 3, Episode 17)

Many people believe this to be the baseball Simpsons episode, largely due to the bevy of ’90s MLB All-Star cameos.

The episode starts with Homer signing up for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team, a team who went 2-28 the year before – their best season yet. He convinces his boys to join because of his “secret weapon,” a lucky bat carved out of a lightning-cracked tree branch. He nicknames it “Wonder Bat,” a clear reference to the supremely boring film, The Natural, and uses it to hit nothing but bombs en route to the Championship Game. By the way, if The Natural is your favorite baseball movie, I’d be willing to bet my life savings that your favorite band is The Eagles. 

Mr. Burns, meanwhile, makes a million-dollar bet on the game with Aristotle Amadopolis, owner of the opposing Shelbyville power plant. Doing what he does best (lying, cheating, scamming), Burns has Smithers round up real major-leaguers and give them fake jobs at the plant so he can laugh all the way to the bank. When he learns that his favorite players, like Honus Wagner and Mordecai Brown, have been dead for nearly 50 years, the unbelievably old Burns has to settle for security guard Roger Clemens, janitor Wade Boggs, and lunchroom cashier Ken Griffey Jr. With the likes of Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Mike Scioscia, Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry, and Don Mattingly rounding out the lineup, Homer and his friends get pushed to the bench. But when the real plant workers have to play at the last minute because the pros have all gone missing, been hospitalized, or placed under permanent hypnosis … well, you can guess.

Decent joke about Scioscia enjoying his new blue-collar life alert!:
Burns: “One more outburst and I’ll send you back to the big leagues!”

The episode is largely notable because all of those players came on the show to voice their own characters, coming into the recording studio over a period of six months whenever their teams came to the Hollywood area to face the Dodgers or Angels.

Side notes:
-According to producer Al Jean, everyone was cooperative…except Canseco.
– Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, and Carlton Fisk all declined to participate.

This episode has become a long-lasting fan favorite thanks to the cultural imprint of the cameos. Greg Collins of ESPN called it the “king of all sports episodes, and perhaps the greatest Simpsons episode ever.” The episode even led to Homer’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. 


1. MoneyBart (Season 22, Episode 3)

I find it a bit odd that Bart likes playing baseball. I feel like he’d find himself too cool for organized sports, preferring to shoot spitballs at the team as he rides past the field on his skateboard (or maybe some other act of heckling that’s not so ridiculously generic). However, according to this episode, Bart doesn’t only play baseball, he loves it. And he’s pretty good too!

For these 20 minutes, Lisa takes over the team.

Solid joke alert:
“Hey, there have been plenty of female managers in baseball: Connie Mack, Sandy Alomar, Terry Francona, Pinky Higgins.”

Introduced to the idea of Sabermetrics, she finds interest in the numbers and statistics of the game.

Good Bill James joke alert:
“I made baseball as much fun as doing your taxes!”

She spends games and practices handing out spreadsheets, plugging numbers into her laptop, rearranging defenses, and spends all her free time reading Moneyball.

Last good joke alert:
“As a pitcher, Cliff Lee is clearly superior to Zack Greinke … with the following colossal exception: before the fourth inning, after a road loss, and in a domed stadium. Then it’s good to be Greinke.”

Bart, naturally, takes issue with Lisa sucking the joy out of the game and turning it into the math class that he already hates. He likes to swing on 3-0 and pull Dusty Bakers, but with a little cameo help from then-Angels manager Mike Scioscia (again!), Bart and Lisa come together to realize that there’s room for both head and heart in the game of baseball. 

This is easily the best Simpsons baseball episode because it’s actually about baseball, as opposed to just using it as a backdrop for whatever story they want to tell. Credited episode writer Tim Long clearly knows his sports stuff (he’s written episodes that take place at the Super Bowl, the Springfield Grand Prix, and the Tour de Springfield) and gets all of the baseball stuff right here. It’s a message that both sides of the baseball fandom factions need to understand, all wrapped up in a well-written Simpsons episode. 

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