By Greg Collins
Special to Page 3

OK, things are getting serious now. We've entered the final 50 as Page 3 counts down the Top 100 Sports Moments in the history of "The Simpsons."

If you missed Parts 1 or 2, "Eat our shorts." Or just go back and check out Nos. 100-75 and Nos. 74-50 before Miss Krabappel pulls a pop quiz.

Make sure to come back to Page 3 on Friday, when we'll reveal the 24 best moments.

Homer and Marge
Homer and Marge put on quite a show for the crowd at a Springfield football game.
49. Mutton-chop Yaz: At the Android's Dungeon, Milhouse wants to spend $30 on a Carl Yastrzemski baseball card from 1973 "when he had big sideburns," but Bart and Martin convince him to go in with them on a $100 copy of "Radioactive Man No. 1."

48. "It feels like a hefty bag full of meat!" Homer and Marge jumpstart their romance by having sex in public places. After being discovered having sex in the windmill at the miniature golf course, the naked Homer and Marge flee. Eventually, they take off in a hot-air balloon, but Homer falls out trying to grab some clothes off a clothesline and is left dangling from a rope. Marge tries to bring the balloon down, but they happen to be over the football stadium. As they descend, Homer blocks a field-goal attempt with his bare butt. They land in the middle of the field, and it just happens to be camera day.

47. King Homer On Ape Island (which Mr. Burns has determined to be the home to either a 50-foot prehistoric ape or a tourist trap concocted by the Ape Island Jaycees), Burns has brought Marge in hopes of luring out King Homer. The natives see Marge and proclaim "Mosi Tatupu! Mosi Tatupu!" (which translates to "The blue-haired woman will make a good sacrifice.") And to think, some folks in New England think it means "Backup running back for the Patriots."

46. Jury of the Damned: Homer sells his soul for a donut, and when the Devil comes to collect, the Simpson family demands a fair trial. The Devil (who looks just like Ned Flanders -- it's always the one you least suspect) obliges, and summons his Jury of the Damned: Benedict Arnold, Lizzie Borden, Richard Nixon (who wasn't dead at the time), John Wilkes Booth, Blackbeard the Pirate, John Dillinger and the staring line from the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers!

Johnny Unitas
Johnny Unitas stands behind the Lady Krusty Mustache Removal System.
45. Johnny U. In a scene of art imitating life, Johnny Unitas stars in an infomercial for the Lady Krusty Mustache Removal System. "It's Krusteriffic, Johnny Unitas," the spokesmodel says. "But is my upper lip supposed to bleed like this?" "Probably." (Unitas had a string of bad business investments after retiring, and filed for bankruptcy in 1991.)

44. CFL DraftTracker: Homer elects not to join the rest of the family at the Flanders' barbecue because he thinks Ned is a jerk. Ever the dutiful wife, Marge covers for him by saying that he has important "work" at the house that only he can take care of.

That work? Laying on the couch, bitching about Ned while "exciting 15th-round action at the Canadian Football League draft" plays on the TV in the background. He eventually relents and joins the fun. Ned offers Homer a pull on the wishbone, triggering Homer's feeble brain to wonder what to wish for. He begins visualizing newspaper headlines: "PRESIDENT DECLARES WORLD PEACE ... Naah ... PRESIDENT SIMPSON DECLARES WORLD PEACE ... Mmm ... PRESIDENT SIMPSON WINS SUPER BOWL."

43. "Ball is in: parking lot." Instead of the ultra-violent "Bonestorm" game, Marge buys Bart a copy of "Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge" for Christmas.

    Lee: Welcome to Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge. I am Carvallo. Now, choose a club.

    You have chosen a three wood. May I suggest a putter?

    Three wood. Now enter the force of your swing. I suggest feather touch.

    You have entered "power drive." Now, push 7-8-7 to swing.

    Ball is in: parking lot. Would you like to play again?

    You have selected "no."

Bonus personal admission No. 1: In the Xbox "Links 2003" game, my golfer profile is named Lee Carvallo.

42. The Elways: After Sideshow Bob gets out of prison and starts on another of his attempts to kill Bart, the Simpsons enter the Witness Protection Program. When the FBI agents tell them they'll need new identities, Homer fantasizes about being John Elway. In his dream, he runs for a touchdown, making the score of Super Bowl XXX San Francisco 56, Denver 7.

Scratch That Sports Itch
Here's a look at a few sports-related episodes of Bart Simpson's favorite cartoon, "The Itchy and Scratchy Show":

Field of Screams: Scratchy and his son are enjoying a game of catch in a wheatfield when a combine driven by Itchy and his son comes bearing down on them. Blood splashes up on the windshield. Afterward, Itchy and his son play catch with Scratchy's head.

The 100-yard gash: Scratchy lines up for the 100-yard dash, but Itchy nails Scratchy's tail to the track as the race starts. Held back by the nail, finally Scratchy's skeleton bursts out of his skin and his flesh and muscles fall to the ground. Scratchy's skeleton wins the gold medal and appears on a Wheaties box. The cartoon closes with the message "Good luck to all our athletes, from Itchy and Scratchy, the official animated cat-and-mouse team of the 1984 Olympics."

Kitty Kitty Bang Bang: Itchy catches Scratchy's tongue in the automatic ball return. He then lights the fuse on a bomb and rolls it down the lane. Scratchy tries to free himself by cutting his tongue with a hacksaw, but the bomb returns and explodes before he can escape.

The Last Traction Hero: Scratchy works out with a barbell set. Buffed-up, he flexes for Itchy, who tries to pop Scratchy's muscles like balloons. When the pinprick has no effect, Itchy pokes his entire chest. Scratchy bleeds heavily and sits down. Armed with a chainsaw, Itchy slices off Scratchy's biceps and pectoral muscles.

41. Trab Pu Kcip! The dimwit in Homer strikes again, this time by forgetting to pick up Bart at soccer practice. While Bart waits in a driving rainstorm, Homer's fat butt is on the couch, watching (of all things) a Green Bay Packers farewell ceremony for Brian Bartlett Starr. Crowds chant "Bart! Bart! Bart!" A sign is unfurled, saying "We'll never forget you, Bart!" And yet still, Homer fails to remember what he's supposed to do.

Bonus sports reference: Nelson is selected to attend Pele's Soccer and Acting Camp.

40. "He's graceful, yet masculine. So it's OK for me to enjoy this." The one day Bart picks to be tardy turns out to be P.E. sign-up day. By the time he gets there, all the good classes are filled -- Baseball, Tae Kwan Do, Lap Running, Push-Ups, even Gender Issues in Sport. Bart is stuck with the dreaded ballet. Soon he embraces it, talking of doing "a little arabesque," pulling off a "demi-entrechat" and drinking Tab. Wearing a mask in the final production, he captivates even the bullies of Springfield Elementary. But when he reveals himself, they call him a sissy and try to beat him up.

39. Saddlesore Galactica: The family takes ownership of a failed Steel Pier diving horse, and soon they have themselves a racing horse. But when Duncan is redubbed "Furious D" and becomes the Dennis Rodman of the track, Homer's glory earns him the enmity of all the jockeys. Soon he finds himself in the Land of the Jockeys, who threaten to eat his brain if his horse doesn't lose. Homer decides to deal with the "murderous trolls" when the time comes, and Furious D races to victory.

Bonus tribute to Disney: Homer first tries using Duncan as a field-goal kicker, but the NFL rulebook forbids horses from playing (apparently there's no such rule for mules, as shown by 1976's "Gus the Field-Goal Kicking Mule").

38. Fair Trade: Milhouse falls in love with the new girl in class, and brings her to Bart's treehouse to make out. Totally disgusted, Bart turns to "trading" for Milhouse's valuable baseball cards -- swapping a Carl Yastrzemski for a torn Omar Vizquel, and a 1958 Mickey Mantle for a picture of Homer sleeping on the couch.

37. "A 7-5 football season doesn't come cheap ..." Homer calls on Bart's (fake) faith-healing ability at the big homecoming football game between Springfield U. and Springfield A&M. During halftime, Homer drives a float ("A Salute to Hazing") onto the field, colliding with star kicker Anton Lubchenko. Fat Tony bet a lot of money on the game, so Homer tries to get Bart to fix Anton -- even though Dr. Hibbert proclaims Anton's playing days over.

Springfield U. is down 20-18, and thanks to Bart, Anton is able to hobble back onto the field to try the game-winner. The kick is up, it looks good ... but then the ball starts to fall short. Suddenly, it gets a mid-air boost thanks to the flying leg of the kicker, which broke off on the kick.

Bonus fake Keith Jackson appearance: "Whoa, Nellie, we have ourselves a barn-burner here today! Welcome to the 117th dust-up between the Snortin' Swine of Springfield A&M and the Springfield University Nittany Tide. Ho, ho, doctor, break out the hickory switch! Well, hang on to your hoop skirts, folks, because Anton Lubchenko is going to be kicking higher than a mule on payday. Oh, land o'lakes! Take that, ozone layer! (later in the game) Oh, doctor, with SU behind and seconds left, my supply of homespun sayings is lower than a doodlebug in Aunt Tilly's root cellar. So we'll -- Oh, jumpin' crawdaddies! Is that Lubchenko coming back on the field?"

Homer bowling
Homer rolled a perfect game "without the aid of steroids, crack, angel dust, or the other narcotics that are synonymous with pro bowling."
36. Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder: Homer achieves greatness after bowling a perfect game (punctuated by slow-motion running and sparks falling from the ceiling, a la "The Natural"), instantly becoming the talk of the town. He speaks in front of Bart's class (at which point Mrs. Krabappel announces that he achieved this feat "without the aid of steroids, crack, angel dust, or the other narcotics that are synonymous with pro bowling"), appears on Springfield Squares, and even tries a "walk-on" at a Penn and Teller show. His celebrity act grows tired, and after trying (and failing) to commit suicide, he dedicates his life to his children.

After Maggie saves him from drowning in the ocean (a long, much less-interesting story), he takes her bowling. Maggie's very own perfect game is disallowed by Homer, saying that she stepped over the line on the last ball. "That gives you a final score of ... 295. Looks like Daddy won, but 295 is awfully good for a baby."

Bonus sports trash talk: While Homer is still several frames away from perfection, Lenny shows an amazingly poor choice of words when purchasing a banana split.

    Lenny: Miss! Miss! (Homer and Carl glare at him) Sorry, I was calling the waitress. (to waitress) Ah, this split you sold me is making me choke.

    Homer: Lenny!

    Lenny: What? I paid 7.10 for this split.

    Carl: Will you at least call it a banana split, you dumbwad?

    Lenny: Hey, spare me your gutter-mouth

35. Smokin' Joe Frazier's Commitment to Excellence: Homer's day starts badly when Bart breaks his couch while playing in the "Living Room Olympics." Later, Mr. Burns -- in an attempt to placate his lawyers after the plant "causes" Homer's low sperm count -- decides to give Homer an award. At the awards show, Smokin' Joe Frazier presents the hardware:

    Frazier: Webster's dictionary defines excellence as "the state or condition of being excellent." And now, the winner of the First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence ... Homer Simpson."

We later find Frazier hanging with the guys at Moe's. "Keep those pig legs coming, Moe." "You cleaned me out, Smokin' Joe."

Frazier tries to comfort Homer on the loss of his couch, comparing it to when he lost the heavyweight championship. "Heavyweight championship? There's like three of those," Homer replies. "This couch was one of a kind." Barney then tells Joe to shut up, Joe answers with "Barney, you been ridin' my back all night." They take it outside, and Barney gets his butt kicked and dumped in a garbage can.

34. Krabappel Falls for Gordie: When a detention-saddled Bart overhears a lovelorn Edna Krabappel pine for a relationship, his fiendish mind plots revenge for all those hours spent at the chalkboard after school. Finding her personal ad, he concocts a fake boyfriend named "Woodrow." Smitten, she asks for a photo. Bart opens "NHL Stars of the 1950s" and clips out a picture of Gordie Howe: "Strap on your skates, Gordie. You're going in."

Bonus classic sports moment: Howe's career stats are listed at the end of the episode.

33. Dingers! Dingers! The side-effects of the wonder-drug Focusyn can be nasty. The little pill goes bad for Bart, and he steals a tank and eventually fires its cannon into the air, downing a satellite ("And may God help you if that thing carried the Spice Channel," screams Moe). Turns out it was a Major League Baseball satellite, spying on everyone for market research around the clock. But before the residents of Springfield can catch on, Mark McGwire lands in a helicopter. He gathers the incriminating printouts while distracting the crowd -- "Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?"

32. Now if Only Red Sox Fans Will Forgive Him: After Focusyn helps Bart with his ADHD, he wants to pass along his desire for self-improvement on to the rest of the family. For Homer, he buys "Chicken Soup for the Loser." After all, it's the book that "gave Bill Buckner the courage to open a chain of laundromats." Homer does feel like his career has lost momentum, to which Bart remarks "I think it's the bright blue pants. I mean, you're not on a golf course." In all his wisdom, Homer turns them into cutoffs.

31. You Call this a Riot? The Continental Soccer Association comes to Springfield, bringing with it all of your favorite soccer stars -- "Like Ariaga! Ariaga II! Bariaga! Aruglia! And Pizzoza!" Despite never having heard of any of the players, the Simpsons head to the stadium like everyone else in town to watch the match that will determine "once and for all which nation is the greatest on earth: Mexico or Portugal!"

But this being soccer, the action consists of the ball being passed between the center and the halfback. In the fans' rush to the exits, a riot breaks out. Naturally, Groundskeeper Willie and his Scottish mates are unimpressed, and turn up the violence to proper hooligan levels. "What began as a traditional soccer riot has escalated into a city-wide orgy of destruction," announces Kent Brockman. "Reacting swiftly, Mayor Quimby has declared mob rule. So, for the next several years, it's every family for itself!"

Bonus sports-endorsement moment: Pele addresses the crowd before the match: "Pele is king of the soccer field. To be king of your kitchen, use Crestfield Wax Paper."

30. Gentlemen, Start your Whacking: OK, maybe "Whacking Day" has never appeared on ESPN, but it seems like a sport to me -- grab a stick and whack as many snakes as you can. Founded by Jebediah Springfield in 1775, every May 10, the citizens of Springfield drive the snakes into the town square, then club them to death.

Homer trains for the big day with ninja-like grace and fury, and the town even gets Barry White to be grand marshal (just like the Rose Bowl). Official Whacking Day parking is going for $10 an axle, which is a bargain for most big-time sporting events. Bart and Lisa later reveal to the whack-ready mob that Whacking Day was actually founded in 1924 as an excuse to beat up the Irish.

29. "Mmmmm ... open-faced club sandwich" During a guest visit to the Springfield Country Club, Homer tries his hand at golf. Luckily, Tom Kite is around to give him some pointers. Flush with confidence (and thanks to a "loose waggle"), Homer accepts a challenge from Burns, who has only lost one golf match in his life (to Nixon in 1974 -- "He just looked so forlorn, Smithers, with his 'Oh, I can't go to prison, Monty. They'll eat me alive!' ").

Homer Simpson
Even before "Dancing Homer," Mr. Simpson spent plenty of time supporting the Springfield nine.
Homer feels that if he beats Burns -- really wallops him bad -- he'll get that big raise he has been gunning for. Homer's inexperience on the golf course shows through when he can't figure out how to get out of a sand trap. "Use an open-faced club ... a sand wedge!" implores Burns. "Mmmmm ... open-faced club sandwich." But even Burns is caught off-guard when it is revealed that over all these years, Smithers has been secretly placing Burns' ball on the green in perfect position, blowing Burns' image of himself as "the world's finest golfer."

28. Stupid, Sexy Flanders: On a ski trip, Marge suffers a broken leg while in the lodge. But more importantly, we see Homer distracted by a spandex-clad Ned Flanders on the slopes ("It feels like I'm wearing nothing at all!"). As he quickly loses control going down the mountain, his legs spread out, causing "the worst pain imaginable!" -- that is, until he flies through a field of moguls, whacking his crotch on each bump.

Lisa, in her understated way, gets back to nature by trying cross-country skiing. On the other hand, Bart tries to go snowboarding, but all he does is learn the lingo -- "Stomp that jiggle revert!" But when he asks to go to the bathroom, the instructor makes him say it in "snowboard." "Uh, I've got to blast a dookie?"

27. Pulling a Homer: After averting a nuclear meltdown by pushing a random button, Homer gets a congratulatory call from Magic Johnson. Later, when Homer's dumb luck is revealed, "pulling a Homer" enters the lexicon, defined as "to succeed despite idiocy" ("Homer" is also given as an alternate definition for stupid, lucky and fraud). Later during a Lakers game, Magic slips while dribbling up the court. The ball flies out of his hands, hits the referee, and goes in the basket. Says Magic, "Looks like I pulled a Homer.''

26. "Nacho, nacho man": Despite spending eight days in line, Homer's attempt to get tickets to the big Springfield Atoms-Shelbyville Sharks football game fails when the guy in front of him buys 30,000 tickets. But when Ned Flanders wins tickets on a radio call-in show and offers to take Homer, the big lug relaxes his anti-Flanders stance long enough to go to the game. Homer even gets the game ball from quarterback Stan Taylor when it turns out Ned saved Taylor from the debauchery so common to professional athletes.

    Taylor: I used to party all night and sleep with lingerie models until Ned and his bible group showed me that I could have more.

    Homer: Professional athletes, always wantin' more.

Sports concession we're still waiting to see: The nacho hat, complete with cheez reservoir. 'Nuff said.

25. 'Topes move? 'Topes move? Homer tries to call attention to the Duff Brewery's cover-up of a plan to move the Springfield Isotopes to Albuquerque by starting a hunger strike. Not even his friends believe him, insisting that they certainly would have heard something on a talk radio show "like 'Sports Chat' or 'Sportzilla and the Jabber Jocks.' " Chained up outside the stadium, Homer starts cutting into the ticket sales, so the owners move him to the batter's-eye behind center field and turn him into their new mascot, "Hungry Hungry Homer." When offered a new Isotope Supreme Dog -- with mesquite-grilled onions and jalapeno relish -- Homer realizes this is the kind of "bold flavor they enjoy ... in Albuquerque!" The truth is revealed, and the team is saved.

Bonus fun fact: This episode aired in 2001, and two years later the Calgary Cannons relocated to Albuquerque and were renamed the Isotopes. The name was chosen by a fan vote.

Page 3 will unveil the top 24 moments on Friday. Greg Collins is a freelance writer based in Seattle and can be reached at gregcollins73@hotmail.com.