In honor of The Amazing Spider-Man’s release today, I thought we should look back at Spidey’s rich and storied history with the sport of baseball. And yes, for those wondering, there is more than simply fighting an actual wall at Shea Stadium while Morgan Freeman looks on. Even though that’s the best:
First up, is Peter Parker, Spider-Man #33 or Spider-Man Gets Shmaltzy.
Released in 2001, the issue finds Peter remembering Uncle Ben on the date of their annual trip to Shea Stadium. During the course of his maudlin remembrances, he flashes back to the first game that Uncle Ben ever took him to. Notice the extreme care and artistry it took to avoid an MLB Licensing fee:
At the end of the game, when the Mets invariably lose, Uncle Ben reveals that he was really less of a person and more of a lesson-giving quote machine:
Later, as Peter has grown from moonfaced awkward child to moonfaced awkward pre-adolescent, we get a quick peek at the kind of agility he was dealing with before he was gifted with a bite from a radioactive spider. Not that I’m judging, mind you, for an inability to catch fly balls is pretty much what ended my playing career at the age of 12. That and an inability to hit the ball. Or really offer anything other than Team Leader in Baseball Cliches.
After getting beaned in the head, the mascot is sent over to keep the boy calm enough not to file a lawsuit. Once again, notice the care that goes into not touching upon licensed characters:
After years of watching the Mets lose, guess what, they finally win one. And you know what else happened after the Mets finally won?
That’s right, Uncle Ben dies. Correlation? I think so.
So remember, Mets fans, for every game your team wins, a beloved patriarchal figure will die, unable to spout more goblets of wisdom.
Next, we’ll take a peek at the most important PSA of all-time, oddly enough occurring in CANADA. That’s right, it’s time for The Amazing Spider-man: Hit and Run. Alternate title: Spider-Man Tackles Bicycle Safety.
With the Yankees in town to face the Blue Jays, Peter Parker is sent by J. Jonah Jameson to get some sweet pics for the Daily Bugle. I’m assuming it’s because New Yorkers were just going crazy for Pat Borders at the time. The game also happened to coincide with Annual Bicycle Safety Day or some such thing, so a group of helmet-wearing dweebs (I’m joking, always wear your safety gear, kids) were going to parade around the SkyDome’s turf on their two-wheelers.
Who wouldn’t want to watch these kids:
The tension, so thick. The suspense, palpable. Unfortunately, Phil Danton’s not going to make it, probably because he’s wearing a self-personalized Blue Jays jersey. Quick question: if I were to purchase a “Danton 77” jersey, would it be the best decision of my life?
After getting run over and left for alive, we flash back to the stadium where Peter Parker is ready to take some action shots. Also, we get a terrifying panel featuring none other than BJ the Blue Jay.
But just what was BJ trying to say?
Now then, Internet, do your thing!
Soon, both Ghost Rider and Spider-Man are on the case (did I neglect to mention that Ghost Rider was also in Toronto this weekend?), naturally they have to battle each other. Because this is a superhero comic and that’s what happens in them. Unfortunately, with all their kicking and punching, they forget the most important thing: Bicycle safety. With mere moments to spare, Ghost Rider remembers this fact:
Wait, wait. Perhaps I’m reaching, but is this a reference to John Olerud, greatest first baseman of the 20th century?
Soon, the guy who originally hit Phil with his car goes to the hospital to tie up the loose ends, convinced that the injured kid is actually Ghost Rider. Why he believes such a thing is never explained. Fortunately, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider are there to spare the kid a lifetime of trauma stemming from his accident and near murder.
And what better way to celebrate your life than with baseball tickets delivered from that fiend of friendship, that mascot of mayhem, BJ the Blue Jay:
Finally, we’ve now stumbled upon the time when Spider-Man played high school baseball against Harry Osborn in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #34. Otherwise known as A Treatise on PED Usage.
After finishing up baseball practice, cool jock Flash Thompson is personally affronted by Peter Parker sitting on a nearby bench, quietly reading. Doing what all attractive and athletic individuals must do, especially if this is a 1980s comedy, he hurls a baseball at Parker, unleashing man’s favorite war cry as he does:
Unfortunately for Flash, Peter uses all of his latent spider-like abilities and snags the ball mere moments before it would have crashed into his face. With the coach looking on, saying nothing about the blatant bullying, he immediately asks Parker to join the team. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is how Mickey Mantle was signed.
With a new starting shortstop and cleanup hitter in Peter, the team goes on an epic winning streak, even defeating the hated Oscorp Aussies, who, as far as I know, have no relation to Peter Moylan.
After the game, Norman Osborn (whose evil alter ego is The Green Goblin), expands on his hatred of Bud Selig’s greatest success.
With Peter installed at shortstop, even drawing attention from super agent “Scott Borax,” Flash Thompson grows even angrier, certain that Peter is using performance enhancing drugs. It makes sense, I mean, it’s like if Eric Sogard all of a sudden became a Major League Baseball player. Oh…wait.
Soon, with the Oscorp Aussies set to play the Peter Parker Nine, Norman Osborn completely loses his mind, reverting back to his Green Goblin alter ego. The two battle it out in the subway, with the Green Goblin hurling every baseball-related phrase that he can.
Phrases that were cut for space include:
“Time to call the suicide squeeze.”
“You’re a productive lout.”
“Geez, Spider-Man, your WXRL is really suffering.”
But as with real life, the message comes down to this: the jocks are the real heroes. No, Spidey isn’t the one to finish off the Green Goblin, rather it’s a home run ball off the bat of Flash Thompson that hits the Goblin in the head, sending him off of his glider and crashing to the ground.
At the end, we’re given the most valuable of lessons:
You know, Flash Thompson should really consider a career with the BBWAA. Those guys really hate steroids.
With Spider-Man’s next sequel already in the works, we can only hope the filmmakers decide to fully embrace Spidey’s rich connection with the game of baseball. And if not, we can certainly form some kind of boycott cabal and let Sony know our wrath.
Final note, if you’re looking for more Spider-Man at Shea, why not check out the time he got married at the stadium with the whole thing officiated by Stan Lee. For realsies.
Daily news, recaps, and ridiculous pictures from across the baseball world. Extra focus on stirrup socks, squeeze bunts, mustaches and old baseball cards. In other words, your exact interests.
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