Tuesday, July 28, 2015

OT: Rugrats - Baseball

Hello there, I thought I'd do something a bit different today and talk about an episode of a TV show. As some of you can probably tell, today I'll be talking about the episode "Baseball" from the awesome cartoon Rugrats.


Because I grew up in the late 90's/early 00's, Rugrats was ubiquitous in my childhood. I spent so many hours planted in front of the TV watching marathon upon marathon of Rugrats. Despite that Nickelodeon never really aired the really earlier episodes too often. A lot of the episodes I saw were from the post first movie era (the Dil Era as fans call it). That said, it's always fun to revisit Rugrats (especially the first season where the art was almost like a surreal painting), even as a "mature" adult.

Now let's get to the episode itself shall we?

Plot:


Grandpa Lou wins three tickets to a local baseball game via a radio show and takes his son Stu and his grandson Tommy to see the Grizzlies (city undefined) take on the Boston Boomers. There Tommy loses his Grizzlies balloon and goes on an adventure to find the balloon.

Mind Blowing Fact:

I never realized it until recently, but you know who was the composer for most (if not all) of the songs featured on Rugrats? It's none other than Mark Mothersbaugh. Yes, the lead singer of Devo created songs for Rugrats.


Notable Baseball Tidbits:

As an episode sort of focused on baseball there were a few fun things I picked up while I was watching it. The one I really want to talk about first is a baseball card trade that happened.


During the episode Tommy finds himself carried over to the announcer's booth via the popcorn vendor Dominic (who speaks with an strong Italian accent) who then negotiates a baseball card trade with one of the play-by-play guys for the radio station K-Old (lol) named Chuck. You know what the trade they negotiated on?

Chuck Trades Away: A "Perfect Condition" Willie Mays
Dominic Trades Away: One (Darryl) Strawberry and one Vida Blue

Now it's not really clear what the cards were but let's assume these were vintage cards (minus the Strawberry). Either way my reaction was HOLY MACKEREL, THAT'S A STEAL IF I EVER HEARD ONE!
This episode was created sometime in early 1991 (possibly 1990) which was before the Darryl Strawberry story spiraled out of control in a whirlwind of mediocrity and cocaine. So to me this is a pretty good snapshot of a point in time where people would actually trade vintage Willie Mays cards for Darryl Strawberry cards (and Vida Blue cards apparently). Not bad for a fictional baseball card trade.

Despite the fact that real live baseball players were mentioned, most of the players we actually see playing in this game/episode are fake.


The most prominent one is Bucky Majors. I assume his name is based on Bucky Dent and Major League Baseball. Although his appearance reminds me of Jose Canseco.
BTW, this very plot starts when Grandpa Lou answers this trivia question,

"What player in the history of baseball, hit the most homers on a second Tuesday and every Monday (in) April for all time in eternity?"

The answer? Bucky Majors! Yes in the Rugrats world Bucky Majors (number 6) is so great he's a "three time hall of famer" and a cornerstone of the Grizzlies franchise. At least according to the other play-by-play guy Hank (who's a former player too apparently).


He's such a big man that he does practice swings with multiple bats when he's on deck. And his bat "lucky number three" is so heavy the batboy struggles to lift it up. And when he makes contact with the ball he literally hits the cover off of the baseball. Man, I'd love to see his ISO lol.


BTW, although the final play in this game involved Bucky Majors catching a pop up (and Tommy), I'm guessing it'd be ruled fan interference in our world. Tommy reached out for the baseball and altered the play. For all we know that could've been a game tying home run.


The only other fictional player that was actually named and seen was "Crazy Legs" Magill. According to Hank the play-by-play guy for K-Old (lmao), Magill is an inconsistent pitcher who either pitches no hitters or walks everybody.

The interesting thing about Crazy Legs here is that the people behind this episode kind of messed up one major thing about him.
The goof is that Crazy Legs is depicted wearing the opposing team (the Boston Boomers) uniform even though he's supposed to be a member of the Grizzlies. I can say this for a fact because the very batter he's pitching to is wearing the same uniform. And because the Grizzlies/Bucky Majors were fielding when he came onto the mound.


There was one other pitcher mentioned by the name of Huskie, or possibly Haskal or Hasco or something that began with an h and had a c/k/q sound in the middle. He was the pitcher Crazy Legs Magill came in to relieve. I'm not entirely sure who he is but we did see one other Grizzlies pitcher in this episode (the guy above) who had a logic defying curveball so for all I know it could be that guy.


For those of you who are curious, the Grizzlies one 1-0 over Boston. YEAH! EVEN THE RUGRATS WORLD DOESN'T LIKE BOSTON!


One last notable baseball tidbit is that the the team Stu and Grandpa Lou root for are the Grizzlies. In our world there is a professional baseball team called the Grizzlies, the Fresno Grizzlies. It's been long speculated that the Rugrats is set somewhere on the west coast of America, probably somewhere in California, and Fresno is indeed in California. That said the Fresno Grizzlies have always been a minor league team and the Rugrats' Grizzlies were a major league team (or at least appeared to be one). Also, the Grizzlies appear to be the visiting team and Boston appears to be the home team. And yet there are blimps and scoreboards saying "Go Grizzlies" even though Boston is the home team. So does this mean the Rugrats is set in Boston? Ugh, my head hurts.

Rugrats Related Tidbits:

Grandpa Lou (Left), Stu (Right with purple hair)

Well in this episode Grandpa Lou claims to have been a minor league baseball player at one point back in 1942 before his career ended due to "the war and all." Grandpa Lou is known to say a lot of things in this series so we don't know if it's true but hey, it's something.


I've referenced it a few times in this post already but the radio station that broadcasts these baseball games is called K-Old. The station's official slogan is "Music for the old and old at heart." LMFAO, this is what I love about Rugrats. These jokes you notice when you're older (although this is admittedly one of the weaker ones in the series).

Anything else?


During the episode the bear mascot for the Grizzlies had a really nice chant going.
"Boomers, Boomers take a hike,
You're the team that we don't like."

I love that chant. I've replaced Boomers with Boston and turned it into one of my favorite things to yell ever.
"Boston, Boston take a hike. You're the team that we don't like!"

It's perfect!

Final Thoughts


All in all I loved this episode. I've been binge watching Rugrats (and it's spinoff All Grown Up) recently and I was glad I had a chance to talk about Rugrats on this blog. These season 1 episodes of Rugrats are especially great. It might be the animation or the limited dialogue (for the most part) but something about these really early episodes just seems inviting and surreal.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Note, the images used here are property of Nickelodeon/Viacom.

10 comments:

  1. Man, this post brought back some memories. I remember that episode quite well. I've also been watching a lot of Hey Arnold! lately (my single favorite show when I was a kid...and still good now even though I'm a college senior) and the big time ballplayer on that show was Mickey Kaline, an obvious crossing of Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline.

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    1. Oh man Hey Arnold is a great show too! I just love how the series has a second life when you revisit it when you're older and truly see how depressing and real the HA world is. From Helga's pretty sad upbringing to Arnold dealing with the "loss" of his parents to pretty much everything else.
      And oh man I forgot all about Mickey Kaline, that episode where Arnold tried to return his last career HR ball was awesome. Do you want to review it Nick?

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  2. I didn't watch much of the Rugrats, but I dominated Ren & Stimpy!

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    1. I didn't watch Ren & Stimpy. It was Rugrats, Spongebob and Ed, Edd n Eddy.

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  3. I was all about the NickToons back in the day. Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy of course. Doug. And Rocko's Modern Life.

    I had forgotten about the baseball episode in Rugrats, but seeing it here definitely sparked a few dormant brain cells. I really should find all these old shows and give them another once-over for the fun of it!

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    1. Some of these old Nicktoons seem to have a second life when you watch them as an adult. Rugrats falls into this category.

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  4. My kids discovered the Rugrats on Netflix and love it!

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    1. Your kids are way ahead of the curve!

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  5. Where is Chucky?

    I liked the cartoon Doug! Great theme music.

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