‘SIMPSONS’ SERIES SHINES WITH SPORTS STAR SIGHTINGS: As Simpsons-Mania hits a fever pitch today with the opening of the animated family’s film, SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY looks back on the sports celebrities that made their appearances during the show’s 18-year run.
One of the earilest and most athlete-heavy outings was “Homer At The Bat” featuring such baseball buds as Darryl Strawberry, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Sax, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs and Mike Scioscia.
The ballers are brought in for Montgomery Burns’ nuclear power plant softball team, but the ringers are rung through one mishap after another, leaving only Strawberry healthy & available for the big game.
Gridiron greats grandstand throughout the seasons, such as Johnny Unitas as a spokesman for the Lady Krusty Mustache Removal System. When the demonstrating model asks, “Is my upper lip supposed to bleed like this?” Johnny U answers, “Probably.”
Stars from other sports are sprinkled throught the series, from boxer Joe Frazier awarding excellence, to golfer Tom Kite hungering Homer with his suggestion of using an “open faced club sand wedge“.
But it’s not only athletes that have signed up for Simpsons silliness and satire. Ring announcer Michael Buffer spews his signature line in an episode about Homer’s budding boxing career, while Fox TV owner Rupert Murdoch - proclaiming himself a “billionaire tyrant” - expells Homer and company from his private suite at the Super Bowl.
But sometimes the sports skewering can backfire. In the 1996 episode “You Only Move Twice”, Homer is employed with a company whose owner turns out to be a James Bond-esque super villain. After reluctantly leaving his job, a thank-you gift arrives on the Simpsons’ lawn in the form of the Denver Broncos.
A disappointed Homer groans, since he eariler mentioned his dream of owning a different NFL team. A note from his boss states, “It’s not the Dallas Cowboys, but it’s a start.” As the episode ends, the Broncos players are shown as totally inept, dropping passes and falling down clumsily.
The very next season, Denver went on to win Super Bowl XXXII, possibly motivated by this cartoon condemnation.