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Explaining every baseball reference in Tina Fey's new Netflix series 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

All the baseball jokes from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

We didn't need to watch "Mean Girls" once a week for 10 years to realize that Tina Fey is a comic genius (but we did it anyway). When we learned that she'd be filling the "30 Rock"-sized void in our hearts with a Netflix comedy about a woman who survives with a small cult in an underground bunker for 15 years, we were more than a little excited.

When we found out it would star "The Office" receptionist (and Cardinals fan) Ellie Kemper, we built an advent calendar to make sure we'd have time off from work to properly binge-watch "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" the moment it hit the Internet. 

Although, in doing so, we didn't plan for all of the baseball references.

The trailer for "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" featured a one-off baseball joke about the poor conditions Schmidt endured during her time in the bunker.

But we had no idea the show would be so rife with baseball humor. While we still recommend that you clear an afternoon to bask in its glory for yourself, we went ahead and broke down each of the baseball references contained therein just in case you don't have the time, patience, subscription, or enlightened cultural palate to enjoy such a wonderfully constructed, quick-witted comedy. Spoilers abound.

In episode three (Kimmy Goes on a Date!), Jacqueline sets Kimmy up on a date with Grant Belden, a World War II veteran who is suffering from his own traumatic flashbacks. Sure, the difference in age might have been a bit of a problem for Grant and Kimmy, but they seem to hit it off -- sharing intimate, awful details of the time they spent in their respective bunkers. 

When Kimmy tries to break it off with Grant, he accuses her of being a German spy. Kimmy denies the accusation and Grant implores her to recite the batting order of the 1938 Yankees to prove that she's an American. She tries to run away, but Grant slowly gives chase while yelling the lineup from memory. 

Grant Beldon: Batting fourth: Joe DiMaggio! Fifth: The Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig! Bill Dickey, Joe Gordon ..."


For what it's worth, Gordon only batted seventh 25 times in 1938. It was actually left fielder George Selkirk who most often hit seventh. Gordon batted eighth 100 times that regular season and hit eighth in all four World Series games against the Cubs.

Episode six (Kimmy Goes to School!) is based on the 1989 film "Major League." See, Kimmy was only able to complete an eighth grade education prior to being locked in the bunker. Thus, she feels that she needs to go back to school in order to reach her full potential. She enrolls in a GED prep course taught by Richard Kind. 

Kind plays Mr. Lefkovitz, a tenured teacher who is trying to be horrible at his job so that he can be banished to the teacher's lounge to do nothing for the rest of his career. So, instead of teaching his adult students anything, he just pops in a VHS of "Major League" for the duration of every class. 


Kimmy tries to appeal to the Mr. Lefkovitz who got into teaching in the first place. She finds a 1994 yearbook in the library and scours it for an inspirational quote a student gave about Mr. L. When she shows him the yearbook and the quote, Mr. L. notices it's from 1994 and comments, "Great year to be a Montreal Expos fan." That season's Expos were stacked with talent: Cliff Floyd, Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez. They were 74-40 when baseball's work stoppage cut the season short.

Later in the episode, Mr. L shows Kimmy the "oasis" that is his coveted teacher's lounge. 

KIMMY: That? It's just a teacher's lounge.

Mr. L: Just a teacher's lounge?! And I suppose the Montreal Expos are just Canada's second-best baseball team? Well, they used to be.

KIMMY: The Expos moved?!

The episode concludes when -- back in Mr. L's class -- Kimmy and the other adult students are watching "Major League" for what is clearly the umpteenth time. After watching Tom Berenger's inspirational speech to get the team excited about baseball, Kimmy realizes that she's actually learned something from watching the film


"If we've learned anything in this class, it's the plot to the movie "Major League." Mr. Phelps' widow wants the team to fail so she can move the franchise to Miami, right? Well, Mr. L wants us to fail so he never has to work again. He's Phelps' widow, the rubber room is Miami and, I guess, this school is Cleveland. I thought there was no way to win, but I was wrong. We're all in this together. We just have to do what Jake Taylor said: pass the whole fudging test."

In episode 12 (Kimmy Goes to Court!), there's a random mention of baseball during a flashback when Kimmy's captor -- played by fellow Cardinals fan Jon Hamm -- threatens to send Kimmy out into the apocalypse to let, "The Devil and all his Freddies Kruger play baseball with [Kimmy's] head." 

In case you don't have the imagination for such a horrible fate, we went ahead and conjured up the image for you:


Yup, we'd probably agree to stay trapped in an underground bunker for a decade and a half, too.

Finally, in episode 13 (Kimmy Makes Waffles!), Kimmy's boss (Jane Krakowski) makes a NSFW crack about a made-up, prior meaning for "Yankees" that offended our delicate sensibilities.