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Thursday, July 26, 2007


NBA refs are fixing games. Michael Vick is going to jail, where Barry Bonds and half the Tour de France will apparently be his cellmates.

And yet, the most stunning thing I've read on this week came from a puff piece about The Simpsons.

Page 2's Jim Caple did a retrospective on the legendary Homer at the Bat episode. You've seen it, probably more than once... Mr. Burns hires a bunch of major leaguers -- Darryl Strawberry, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, etc., as ringers for the power plant softball team... but all the players except Strawberry are knocked out of action in a series of bizarre mishaps.

Don Mattingly was one of the ringers -- banned from the team because of the unseemly length of his sideburns. For more than fifteen years, I'd assumed that Matt Groenig and company were poking fun at Yankee management, after they famously threatened Mattingly with a benching due to the length of his Indiana farmboy mullet.

Not so, says Donnie Baseball.

"Homer at the Bat" aired in February 1992 after the players had performed their voice-overs in the sound studio when they were in Los Angeles and Anaheim for games the previous season. "The weird thing," Mattingly said, is that he did his scene about Mr. Burns benching him for his long sideburns before the Yankees benched him for not getting a haircut in July 1991. "Everyone thought they wrote it in later but they didn't."
That's just shocking. Makes me think that, perhaps, Steinbrenner has been looking to ol' Monty Burns as some sort of role model.

Nearly as stunning -- ran this article, which is obviously pegged to this week's release of The Simpsons Movie. Cross promotion from "the worldwide leader?" Not surprising.

Cross promotion of something that isn't a Disney property?

I suspect George Bodenheimer is getting ready to "release the hounds."


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