Monday marked the 25th anniversary of “Homer at the Bat,” the famous episode of “The Simpsons” featuring Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith and a bunch of other of 1992’s biggest baseball stars — and Mike Scioscia — playing as ringers for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant’s softball team. It’s a great episode which almost any baseball fan has enjoyed if he or she has seen it.
Now it is being honored by the Hall of Fame:
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will pay tribute to THE SIMPSONS’ place in American culture by honoring “Homer at the Bat” on Saturday, May 27. Boggs and Smith, who were portrayed in the unforgettable episode that featured Homer Simpson winning the championship softball game for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant with a walk-off hit-by-pitch, will join in a roundtable discussion from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. outside the Library entrance to the Hall of Fame in Cooper Park. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will feature the episode’s executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin, and casting director Bonnie Pietila.
During the roundtable, Homer will be “inducted” into the Hall of Fame and a Simpsons-themed exhibit will go on display in the Museum.
Oh, and it’s definitely Pitt the Elder.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.