As my trek through the Simpsons series continues, I find myself coming across various one-liners that were popular while I was in school. At the time, I had no idea that these lines had originated with the Simpsons, having very little time for television. One classmate, for example, would occasionally burst into the classroom exclaiming, “HELLO, EVERYBODY!!”, and would appear so disappointed when the rest of the room merely looked at him like he was a raving lunatic.
My progress through the series has been slow, but steady, and I currently find myself in the middle of season ten. The episode “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken” really isn’t about baseball, but that’s where the plot begins. The Simpson family attends an Isotopes baseball game, which Homer ends up leaving after the first pitch to “warm up the car.” The Isotopes, it seems, had been performing so poorly that he had no interest in hanging out to watch them lose.
Typical fair-weather fan.
A sniper at the All-Star Game, however, apparently makes enough changes to enough lineups that the Isotopes’ luck changes drastically mid-season. Homer walks into Moe’s one night to discover all his friends cheering excitedly at the baseball game on TV. The moment he learns the Isotopes are actually winners now, Homer promptly dons a full outfit of Isotopes gear and makes an ass of himself on a television interview.
Following the Isotopes victory, Homer and his buddies, in a drunken stupor, trash the town. They don’t get caught, however, and law enforcement blames the destruction on local kids. A curfew is established for the younger generation, thus establishing the episode’s primary conflict.
While there’s not a lot of actual baseball in this episode, it does present a bit of commentary on the nature of sports fans. We see it in stadiums all over the country, in all sports. When a team is doing well, the stadium is packed, and few leave the game before it’s through. When a team is struggling, however, attendance drops, and the organization is forced to resort to gimmicks to encourage attendance.