Springfield city league softball is finally safe again

vlcsnap-9895 “Pick me! Pick me!” – Ken Griffey Jr.
“I pick Ken Griffey Jr.” – Ralph Wiggum
“Ah jeez…” – Bart Simpson

For those that haven’t heard yet, Ken Griffey Jr. retired from Major League Baseball last week. During the prime of his 22 seasons, Griffey was one of the best all around center fielders and a serious threat each time he stepped to the plate.  If the latter part of his career hadn’t been injury plagued, he would have probably ended higher up on the all time home run list than 5th.  Additionally, he seems to be one of the rare professional athletes who (probably) hasn’t succumbed to the temptations of extra-marital sex, recreational or performance enhancing drugs, public bouts of racism, bat-corking, pedophilia, wife or child beating, gambling, or any other of the felonious activities which, if you look hard enough, you will find multiple examples of in sports.

More importantly to me, Griffey was the last of the ringers on Burns’ Power Plant softball team to retire from the big leagues.  He was the youngest on the team at the time, and only he and Clemens played past 2001 (and Clemens only had to play once every few days and retired a bunch of times).  Now that the Plant’s ringer team is about as useful as the one Burns originally wanted to field, I thought it may be fun to take a quick look back at the other members to see how they are faring.

Steve Sax: Retired in ‘94 after lobbying to deny pensions for replacement players in the baseball strike. Ran for a seat in the California State House until his highly public divorce derailed his campaign.

Don Mattingly: Retired in ‘95. His number was retired by the Yankees, but only his moustache will end up in Cooperstown.  He coached with the Yankees for a few years, and in 2008 he followed Torre  to LA where he is now the hitting coach, probably biding his time until either Torre retires or mullets come back into style.

Darryl Strawberry: Retired in ‘99.  Cokey Cokeberry was one of only two players to win a world series with both the Yankees and the Mets, and the only player to win the annual lawn bowling tournament at both The Betty Ford Clinic and Suncoast Rehab center. The alleged wife beater and amateur race riot commentator (The infamous “Let it burn” comment), Darryl seems to be making a run at some sort of TV career with appearances on both the 700 club and Celebrity Apprentice.

Jose Canseco: Retired in ‘01.  The first of the Bash Brothers to appear on the Simpsons (McGwire wouldn’t get there for 7 more years) has spent much of his free time since writing books about, testifying in court about, and generally pointing fingers at, pretty much everyone in pro baseball.  Oh, also he was caught smuggling controlled fertility drugs into the US (he claims they were part of his post steroid-use therapy). And he has been trying to get into fighting, notably with an exhibition bout against Danny Bonaduce.  Throw in a few divorces and a couple of foreclosures and you’ve got most of the story.

Wade Boggs:  Retired in ‘99. Besides his conjecture-laden drinking reputation, and a long time extra-marital affair, this first ballot hall of famer is relatively clean, at least when compared to some of the other guys on this list.

Mike Scioscia: Retired in ‘92. Currently Scioscia is the manager of the Angles.  Starting in 2002 he led the Angles to AL West Championship 5 out of 6 years.  Not much else – this man’s all business.

Ozzie Smith: Retired in ‘96. He did some TV work for a couple of outfits, and now it seems he is a bit of a St. Louis fixture and has tried his hand as a restaurateur amongst other businesses. Only one divorce I could find, and side note: he has a kid that made it to the top ten of American Idol in 2005.

Roger Clemens:  Retired in ‘07 for like the 4th time.  The Rocket spent a lot of years at the other end of Canseco’s (and others – George Mitchell, I’m looking in your direction) various steroid-related accusations.  It’s also speculated he has had several affairs, including one with Mindy McCready when she may or may not have still been underage. He denies it altogether, and she says they didn’t start the physical part of the relationship until she was 21.

So there you have it. Compared to most of these guys Griffey is a first round hall of famer in baseball, as well as life in general. Along with these other guys, Griffey also got to be a sports guest during the golden age of The Simpsons. These nine guys actually had a role in the episode, and they all had humorous parts that affected the plotline. For the last ten years or so (including the aforementioned McGwire appearance) sports guests are just sort of thrown on for whatever reason and for the most part they not only fail to add to the episode, they distract from it. That’s right, I’m talking to you Joe Namath, Troy Aikman, Warren Sapp, Pete Sampras, Williams Sisters, Andre Agassi, Dan Marino, Tony Hawk, Oscar De la Hoya, Lebron James, Michelle Kwan, Yao Ming, Randy Johnson, Lance Armstrong and Chuck Liddell.

I don’t have anything else to say, so thanks for everything Mr. Jr., thanks for 22 years of fun, thanks for saving the Mariners, and thanks especially for the case of gigantism. That was funny.

3 Responses to “Springfield city league softball is finally safe again”

  1. 1 P. Piggly Hogswine
    8 June 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I did have a tinge of sadness when hearing of Griffey Jr.’s retirement, knowing he was the last one. But in the same Sportscenter (or it might have been a day later) episode announcing the news, there was a segement shortly after of Canseco discusing Clemens’ steroid use (or lack of it, in his opinion. It gave me a smile.

    The episode will always be one of my favourites. I remember reading some review where it was deemed the worst episode of the particular season because there wasn’t enough focus on the family members. I’m sure there’s enough modern day episodes that focus only on the family, give me Homer at the Bat ahead of any of those pieces of shit…

    Ps…It’s only in the last few years that I’ve started to really follow baseball, I had hardly an interest in it before. Of the modern MLB players, I could hardly think of 9 that would be able to fill the roles of those before them, in the episode and with dodgy post careers (Strawberry, Clemens, Canseco). It’d be filled with clean, model baseball citizens.

  2. 2 D.N.
    8 June 2010 at 11:43 pm

    “These nine guys actually had a role in the episode, and they all had humorous parts that affected the plotline.”

    Not only that, but the plot dictated that fairly ghastly fates would befall (most of) those guys. A sharp contrast to the cloying sycophancy that the celebrity guest stars receive on Zombie Simpsons.

    • 3 D.N.
      9 June 2010 at 8:24 pm

      Another thing I’ve noticed – looking at screencaps of the baseballers in “Homer at the Bat,” Aerosmith in “Flaming Moe’s,” etc – is that in the earlier years of the show, the animators would make the real-life celebrity characters look only vaguely like their real-life counterparts. It seemed more important to make them fit into the Simpsons universe than to make them look instantly recognizable (José Canseco reportedly complained that his caricature on “The Simpsons” didn’t look like him). The trend in later seasons, however, is to make the caricatures look much more like the real-life people, which unfortunately makes them look much more incongruous next to the regular characters. They don’t look as much like Simpsons universe characters as they do caricatures merely coloured yellow.

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