Fox pays tribute to one of my all-time favorite "Simpsons" episodes, "Homer At The Bat," with a one-hour baseball special – but it airs in the middle of NFL Sunday afternoons this weekend, opposite the Bengals-Steelers game.
"Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson" airs 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, on WXIX-TV (Channel 19) after the New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers game. The Bengals game airs 4:25 p.m. on WKRC-TV (Channel 12). In cities where Fox broadcasts 4 p.m. Sunday NFL games, the "Legend of Homer Simpson" will air at 3 p.m.
Why? Because Fox doesn't have the NFL doubleheader this week, and because "The Legend of Homer Simpson" promotes the World Series on Fox starting Tuesday, Oct. 24.
The second part of "The Simpsons" doubleheader airs 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, when Fox broadcasts the annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror XXVIII" on Channel 19. (You can also catch "The Legend of Homer Simpson" at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, on FS1.
"Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson," in Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary style, mixes clips with on-camera interviews by former players and commentators looking back at the "Homer At The Bat" episode from Feb. 20, 1992. Morgan Spurlock ("Supersize Me") directed the clever episode.
The lineup includes former baseball players Wade Boggs, Steve Sax and Jose Canseco, who appeared in the 1992 episode, and Bob Costas, Joe Buck, George Will, Dr. Oz and others.
There are also interviews with "The Simpsons" characters in animated segments with Carl from the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Police Chief Wiggum, bar owner Moe, barfly Barney, Apu the convenience store owner and the Comic Book Guy shop owner.
And of course Homer Simpson, who says: "Some people say there's no such thing as magic. But those people aren't magicians."
Here's a promo:
In the 1992 "Homer at the Bat," Mr. Burns hired nine baseball stars -- Steve Sax, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith, José Canseco, Don Mattingly, Mike Scioscia and Darryl Strawberry -- as ringers for his company softball team to win a $1 million bet from a rival power plant owner. It poked fun at most baseball and sports clichés, plus Robert Redford's "The Natural." In the show, "Home Run Homer" led the softball team in home runs using his "Wonderbat," which he made from a tree limb struck by lightning.
When you have 22 minutes, or need some good laughs, here is the entire episode:
In “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII," Maggie becomes possessed by an ancient demon; Lisa (Yeardley Smith) discovers a creepy/perfect version of her family in an alternate universe; and Homer (Dan Castellaneta) cannibalizes himself. Ben Daniels (Fox's "The Exorcist"), director William Friedkin ("The Exorcist") and chef Mario Batali make guest-voice appearances.