Assigning ‘Simpsons’ characters to 12 St. Louis Cardinals
Yadier Molina: Nelson Muntz
Cardinals fans nearly deify Yadier Molina, and for good reason: An elite catcher for years, even a backsliding Molina can call a game and shut down the baserunners. Although Cardinals fans love him, many opposing fans acknowledge him with disdain, much as kids in the schoolyard see Nelson Muntz, one of the bullies at Springfield Elementary.
A parallel between Molina and Nelson is their development. Molina was originally a glove-only catcher, but he developed into one of the best offensive catchers in the game without sacrificing any of his defensive aptitude. Nelson’s first appearance, in season 1’s “Bart the General,” shows him as purely a bully. But as the seasons went on, Nelson grew into more of a well-rounded character, leaving much of the bullying duties to Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney.
Viewers learned about Nelson’s vulnerable side in episodes such as season 8’s “Lisa’s Date With Density” and season 16’s “Sleeping With the Enemy.” Eventually, though, this vulnerable side of Nelson overtook the bully side altogether, leading to a decline in his character. Molina can be seen as a mirror of that as well, as the process of aging has left him without some of the skills he had in his prime.
Paul DeJong: Dr. Hibbert
Dr. Hibbert was long known as the “competent doctor” of Springfield, frequently serving as the Simpson family’s primary physician. Paul DeJong is a smart cookie, holding a degree in biochemistry. Naturally, DeJong is a very analytical player who tries to methodically work out any problem he faces on the field.
Hibbert and DeJong were both solid at the start of their careers, but they’ve both tailed off, albeit likely for different reasons. DeJong mentioned his overreliance on analytics in why he lost his starting shortstop job in 2021. Hibbert, though, just seemed to lose his passion for his job and resort to more unorthodox methods of medical treatment.
In season 12’s “Trilogy of Error,” Marge accidentally cuts off Homer’s thumb, and Hibbert offers to remove the other one for a sense of symmetry, which leads Marge to quip, “Hibbert’s really losing it.”
If DeJong can figure out his issues and get out of his own head so much, he still has the tools to be a solid ballplayer, just as Hibbert has the skills to be an apt doctor if he really cares about his patients.