Jonah Keri, author of The Extra 2%, wrote a piece on Grantland.com titled The New Springfield Nine. In it, Keri recasts, as it were, the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team from the classic third season Simpsons episode, “Homer At The Bat.”
If you don’t recall what that episode was about, here’s the summary from IMDB:
Homer and his co-workers qualify the plant’s softball team for the league final, but Mr. Burns hires 9 professional MLB players to win a $1 million bet.
The nine MLB players Mr. Burns gets were Roger Clemens, Mike Scioscia, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr. and Darryl Strawberry, all of whom guest-starred as themselves.
I had been thinking about doing something like this for a while, only with just Padres players, current and former. As soon as I saw Keri’s article, I figured now would be as good a time as any.
I’ve broken it down by position, with Keri’s picks and back-stories indented. My back-stories are not as detailed as Keri’s, but I think you will get the idea.
For my picks, I only had one requirement: They had to be alive. Sorry, no Eric Show or Alan Wiggins. But Ken Caminiti does play a very small part.
Flush with cash after signing a seven-year, $175 million contract but fearing a correction in the high-flying stock market, Hernandez meets with German investors Hans and Fritz. Intrigued by the Germans’ plans to buy the Cleveland Browns, Hernandez signs over his entire 2013 salary, only to discover that Hans and Fritz are secretly bankrolling an Uterbraten plant in Dusseldorf. Racked by guilt and shame, Felix abruptly leaves Springfield, returns to the big leagues, and fires 12 more perfect games.
Padres Edition: Randy Jones
Randy is reluctant to play and only agrees after Mr Burns offers him exclusive rights to serve his tri-tip sandwiches* in the power plant cafeteria. But, an unexpected drop in the BBQ sauce futures market leaves the Crafty Lefty penniless and too depressed to play.
*No longer available on the menu at Randy Jones All-American Sports Grill? What up with that?
Shopping for a mode of transportation while in town for the big game, Posey decides to splurge for a new car. Unable to find any respectable dealers in town, Posey stumbles onto Crazy Vaclav’s. He finds a sub-sub-sub compact he likes, pays cash, and drives off the lot. But despite following Vaclav’s instructions that he put it in “H,” the car stalls, leaving Posey stranded miles from the stadium with the game about to start.
Padres Edition: Bruce Bochy
Sick of managing the under-performing Giants, and their primadonna catcher, Bochy is eager to start over with a new team. During his power plant pre-employment physical, Dr Nick Riviera see his huge 8 3/4 hat size and misdiagnoses him with gigantism.
The Tigers slugger flies in for the game, only to realize he has nowhere to stay. Disco Stu graciously agrees to put Prince up for as long as he needs. It’s an offer born of generosity but also a smattering of self-interest: Fielder could make an excellent wingman, and, with the proper guidance, could become an ambassador for Stu’s master plan to usher in a new golden age of disco. Fielder’s skeptical at first, telling Stu he should probably take it easy with the game coming up. But Stu wears Prince down, persuading him to come out and see Springfield’s best (and only) disco act, Earth, Wind & Tire Fire. The night goes smoothly until Fielder, donning a three-sizes-too-small leisure suit that Stu lent him, develops a severe allergic reaction to the polyester, costing the team its starting first baseman.
Padres Edition: Steve Garvey
Upset over his failed bid to buy the LA Dodgers, Garvey is lured to Springfield by Mr Burns’ offer to buy the Chicago Cubs for him. After getting slapped with paternity suits by half of the women in Springfield, however, Garvey flees the country.
Hoping to leverage his bubbly personality and big Twitter presence into a media career, Phillips begins shadowing newscaster Kent Brockman. Summoned to cover a 50th-anniversary celebration for Lard Lad Donuts, Brockman invites Phillips along to learn the intricacies of doing a remote broadcast. Tragedy strikes as the giant metal donut, never fully refastened after Lard Lad’s murderous Halloween rampage, plummets to the ground, crushing four bystanders. Brockman and Phillips narrowly escape a direct hit, but Phillips breaks his ankle diving out of the way of the glazed nightmare.
Padres Edition: David Eckstein
Burns offers to buy the Star Wars franchise from Disney and give Eckstein’s wife, Ashley, a starring role in the new movie. However, Eckstein ends up getting arrested for felony vandalism and assaulting Comic Book Guy when he finds bootleg Clone Wars merchandise being sold in the Android’s Dungeon comic book store.
Shunned by New York’s bachelorette population after handing out one too many gift baskets, Jeter loses his confidence with the fairer sex and retreats to Springfield a broken man. There he finds a kindred spirit in Moe, the only man on Earth lonelier than the heartbroken Captain. Moe teaches Jeter how to cope with being alone, telling tales of Birthday Fries offers gone awry and the Flaming Moe’s fortune that vanished overnight. The two leave Springfield to start a holistic living clinic in North Haverbrook and are never heard from again.
Padres Edition: Khalil Greene
After Ozzie Smith disappeared from the face of the earth back in 1992, Mr Burns offers to pay for Greene’s anxiety medication and counseling to get him to play. But Mr Burns makes the unfortunate mistake of hiring the same hypnotist that had Roger Clemens thinking he was a chicken. Instead of curing Greene’s anxiety, he actually increases it, causing Greene to revert to a Gollum-like state.
Beltre’s legendary aversion to having his head touched becomes such a burden on himself and his teammates that he seeks therapy to correct the problem. After years of counseling, he finally overcomes his fear, just as Burns invites Beltre to play for Springfield. On the night before the big game, Beltre meets up with Homer, who invites him to watch Stan “The Boy” Taylor Jr. and the rest of the Springfield Atoms take on their archrivals, the Shelbyville Sharks. In a rare display of generosity, Homer buys a nacho hat and invites Beltre to wear it. But seconds later, unable to control his primal urges, Homer begins frantically pawing at the newly indoctrinated Nacho Man’s head. Just as the cheese begins to dribble through a gaping hole in the top of the hat, Beltre comes unhinged, lunging at Homer and strangling him. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Beltre flees the scene, never to return to Springfield, or have anyone touch his head ever again.
Padres Edition: Mike Pagliarulo
After trying unsuccessfully to reanimate the body of Ken Caminiti, and having Craig Nettles refuse all of his offers, Mr Burns has little choice but to sign Pagliarulo. However, upon reaching Springfield, Pagliarulo gets upset that no one knows who he is or why he’s even there and subsequently leaves.
Clean, sober, and born again after years of battling substance abuse, Hamilton happily accepts Burns’s invitation to play for Springfield, earmarking his appearance fee for various charities. Upon arriving in town, Hamilton heads to church to watch Reverend Lovejoy’s sermon. There, he’s approached by Ned Flanders, who warns that baseball is a game rife with sin, complete with steroids, excessive drinking, and Baseball Annies who can cloud even the most devout man’s judgment. Hamilton politely thanks Flanders for his concern, then gets up to leave. As soon as he steps outside, Rod and Todd jump him and throw him in a van emblazoned with the slogan “If this van is a’rockin’, it probably means we’re reading from Deuteronomy.” Hamilton disappears forever.
Padres Edition: Rickey Henderson and Greg Vaughn
Henderson happily joins the team, telling Mr Burns that “Rickey would love to play. Rickey can still play better than half those guys. Even that Rickey guy.” Mr Burns then forgets that he signed Rickey and gets Vaughn to play the same position. Fed up that this happened to both of them once again, both Henderson and Vaughn quit.
Reacting to Harper’s famous retort to an overzealous reporter, Krusty sues the Nationals star for copyright infringement, arguing that the phrase “Klown Kwestion” is his own intellectual property. Seeking damages totaling $100 million, Krusty hires the most ruthless lawyer in town. With Lionel Hutz no longer around to work on contingency(RIP), Harper decides to defend himself. The case gets tied up for more than a year, forcing Harper to miss the game.
Padres Edition: Mark Kotsay
Mr Burns searches high and low for Steve Finley. But, because of shoddy research from Mr Smithers, doesn’t bother to look for surfers at Del Mar beaches. So he goes with his second choice of Kotsay. But Kotsay’s wife, Jamie, gets in a war of words with the Investorettes, Marge Simpson’s old investor club, about who will be named Team Mom. Which then leads to a battle outside of the ballpark between the Yakuza and Somali pirates in which Kotsay is injured.
Afraid he might follow Jose Reyes’s lead and get traded soon after buying a new home in south Florida, Stanton starts looking for real estate opportunities in Springfield instead. But when he wanders onto the west side of town, Cookie Kwan mistakes him for a competing real estate agent, and violence erupts. Stanton still makes it back to the game in time, starting in right field and hitting nine home runs while his backup, Homer, gathers splinters on the bench. In the ninth inning, with the score tied, the bases loaded, and Stanton due up, Burns calls on Homer to pinch-hit. Though both Stanton and Homer are right-handed hitters, Burns cites Homer’s higher ground-ball rate and Shelbyville’s weak infield defense as the reason for the switch … proving yet again that he’s the greatest strategist the game has ever known.
Padres Edition: Tony Gwynn
Gwynn agrees to play only after Mr Burns promises to pay for new uniforms and equipment for the SDSU baseball team. Despite being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome after a contractually obligated 24-hour marathon free autograph signing session at the Springfield Canyonero dealership, Gwynn still plays, and Homer is relegated to the bench once again.
The game is tied in the bottom of the ninth when Tony gets another of his 12 hits, all in the 5.5 hole. In a surprise move, Mr Burns has Homer pinch run for Tony, citing Homer’s 100% stolen base ratio. Tony argues that Homer has never even attempted to steal a base, and Mr Burns fires him. Selma and Patty, in an attempt to embarrass Homer, try to distract him by flashing their bare chests towards the field, but Homer was trying to flag down a beer vendor and didn’t see them. All of the opposing players do, and in the resulting shock and disgust, Homer manages to walk all the way around the bases to score the winning run.
There you have it. I bet you never thought you’d get a piece of Simpsons fan fiction involving the Padres when you first heard about Padres Public, did you? Because I sure didn’t.
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