The Baseball Star Who Never Watched His Classic ‘Simpsons’ Appearance

He probably never shaved those sideburns either
The Baseball Star Who Never Watched His Classic ‘Simpsons’ Appearance

One of the all-time, four-fingered hands-down best Simpsons episodes ever is “Homer at the Bat,” the one where Mr. Burns stacks the nuclear plant’s employee softball team with conspicuous pro baseball ringers such as Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco and Darryl Strawberry. As you may recall, the star athletes all voiced themselves — even Roger Clemens, whose part mainly consisted of clucking like a chicken.

Another memorable “baseballer” who pops up in the episode, only to suffer a semi-disastrous fate by the end, is Don Mattingly, aka “Donnie Baseball.” While Simpsons fans may remember every single detail of Mattingly’s appearance, somewhat shockingly, Mattingly himself never watched the episode. 

Yeah, even though strangers constantly shout Simpsons quotes at him, and he’s been asked to autograph pictures of his yellow cartoon doppelganger, in a recent interview, Mattingly revealed that he just never got around to viewing the show. “(It’s come back) more lately, and it’s almost like it’s never going away,” the current bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays told “It’s kind of fun, because I’ve never really seen that full episode. People are always amazed that I’ve never seen it.”

Mattingly’s storyline, of course, found him being constantly harangued by Mr. Burns to trim his sideburns (which in no way existed) even when he had shaved most of his scalp. According to Mattingly, this episode is so universally iconic that even during a trip to Australia “people were yelling, ‘Shave those sideburns,’” while seemingly knowing absolutely nothing about his playing career. 

In 1992, this joke probably seemed like a cutting reference to a 1991 incident in which Mattingly was fined by the Yankees for refusing to cut his hair, but oddly, the episode was written and recorded before that event ever took place. We really don’t want to say that The Simpsons predicted it, but The Simpsons kind of predicted it. Either that or George Steinbrenner was inspired by Mr. Burns’ overly-fussy grooming protocols. Thankfully, though, Ken Griffey Jr. never really came down with a case of gigantism, and Ozzie Smith never fell into a mysterious hellish vortex. 

While Mattingly didn’t explain why exactly he hasn’t found the time to watch a 22-minute cartoon at any point during the past three decades, at least the Blue Jays’ social media team has embraced their coach’s Simpsons cred. 

Mattingly is far from the only MLB player that’s recognized more for their animated voiceover work than for their baseball career. Wade Boggs once complained, “People stop me and say, ‘Hey, I saw you on The Simpsons! It’s not, ‘Hey, you had 3,000 hits.’” Even Strawberry says that he gets asked about The Simpsons “more than anything” else.

Come to think of it, some players may be miffed that Homer Simpson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, despite being less-than-athletic and entirely fictional. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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