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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Deadspin: The Making Of “Homer At The Bat,” The Episode That Conquered Prime Time 20 Years Ago

On Feb. 20, 1992, more American homes tuned into The Simpsons than they did The Cosby Show or the Winter Olympics from Albertville, France. A foul-mouthed cartoon on a fourth-place network bested the Huxtables and the world’s best amateur athletes. Fox over NBC and CBS—its first-ever victory in prime time. New over old.

Why the shift? Well, the Olympic programming that night featured no marquee events, and Cosby was just two months away from ending its eight-season run. Meanwhile, The Simpsons, airing just its 52nd episode out of 500 (and counting), had put forth its most ambitious effort to date, an episode called “Homer at the Bat.” Months of work went into corralling nine baseball players, a cross-section of young stars and established veterans, to guest-star as members of a rec-league softball team.

A few months ago a reader emailed me with a suggestion for a post about this episode and how good the team might have been at the time.  I was interested, but got tied with up CAIRO and non-blog stuff so never got around to it.  So Geoff here you go.

The show aired on February 20, 1992 and the premise was basically that Mr. Burns wanted to guarantee a win in a softball game so he brought in nine ringers named Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey, Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, José Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Scioscia.

So how good was that team in 1992?  Let’s take a stab at it.

I could just use 1992 performance but you know that’s not the way I roll, so instead I’ll just use each player’s 1993 Marcel projection, available via Jeff Sackmann.

Player AVG OBP SLG
Wade Boggs .286 .373 .401
Ozzie Smith .271 .349 .335
Don Mattingly .278 .327 .388
Ken Griffey .263 .332 .387
Jose Canseco .260 .352 .493
Darryl Strawberry .264 .349 .462
Steve Sax .264 .316 .358
Mike Scioscia .246 .321 .351
Roger Clemens .173 .236 .207
Runs scored per game 4.48
Runs allowed per game 3.08
wpct .679
W-L 110-52

So there you have it.  They’d be almost as good as the 2011 Red Sox.

--Posted at 8:15 am by SG / 10 Comments | - (0)

Comments

Page 1 of 1 pages:

So…in 1993 CAIRO, they’d be 115-47?

Does this assume Clemens pitches every inning of every game and doesn’t lose any effectiveness or do you assume average pitchers when he isn’t pitching?

Does this assume Clemens pitches every inning of every game and doesn’t lose any effectiveness

Yes.  I think cartoon Clemens has unlimited stamina.

Griffey was a 23 year old with a career line of 301/366/494 going into 1993, why would Marcel project such a pedestrian line for him?

Griffey was a 23 year old with a career line of 301/366/494 going into 1993, why would Marcel project such a pedestrian line for him?

It didn’t.  I didn’t realize his dad was projected in here and that’s his projection.  Griffey Jr.‘s projection is a more reasonable .315/.379/.515.  So they’d be more like a 113 win team.  Still not quite at that 2011 Red Sox level, but getting there.

Did Mattingly get the Yankee bump?

Did you regress to the mean for beer?

6 Yankees at one time or another on that dream team.

[7] 6 wasn’t enough for SG.  He tried to add Ken Griffey Sr.

The defense on that team would be pretty good as well.  Canseco and Straw were probably below average, not no-horrible at that points.  Sax would maybe be the worst defender of the bunch.  If defense weren’t included (yet), I could see that adding a win or two…

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