Homer discovers the diamond isn't forever.
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Jim Reardon
Also starring: Maggie Roswell
Special guest voices: Terry Cashman, Jose Canseco, Mike Scioscia, Ozzie Smith, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jnr and Darryl Strawberry (all as themselves), Jon Lovitz (as Aristotle Amadopolis)
Premise: Homer's on a winning streak as captain of the power-plant baseball team, the Springfield Atoms. Mr Burns becomes greedy for victory (and a million-dollar bet against a business rival) and replaces the team with star players. But fate has a way of interfering with the best-laid plans, despite the odds against all nine players meeting bizarre accidents...
Features: Lenny, Carl, Charlie, Chief Wiggum, Eddie, Apu, Otto, Miss Hoover, Principal Skinner, Mrs Skinner, Mr Burns, Smithers, Ralph, Wendell, Richard, Lewis, Milhouse, Dr Hibbert, Barney, Moe.
Couch: The Simpsons crash into each other, leaving them senseless apart from Maggie.
- The SNPP poster advertising safety at work shows how the Heimlich Manoeuvre works - and shows a man coughing up an entire lobster.
Homage: The lucky baseball bat that was struck by lightning comes from The Natural (Barry Levinson, 1984).
Notes for Brits: Mr Burns suggests baseball players Honus Wagner, Cap Anson and 3-Finger Brown for his team - all of whom are long dead.
Mmmmm: ...doughnuts...potato chips.
Look out for: Mr Burns, who is on top form as a very unlikely baseball coach. His explanation to Homer of the hand signals he intends to give the team from the bench ('If I tap my belt buckle, not once, twice, but thrice. . .') is one of his finest moments in the entire series.
Song: Talkin' Baseball sung over the end credits.
Notes: You need a degree in baseball rules and in-jokes to get most of this (or a good grounding in contemporary baseball politics, at least) but despite that, this is a great episode because the accidents that befall the pro players are so funny. And Homer wins out, a rare but invigorating event.