If you’ve stumbled upon this article on this website, odds are that you’re baseball fan who’s watched The Naked Gun. I love Field of Dreams, Bang the Drum Slowly, Major League and Moneyball, but for me, the third act of The Naked Gun is the greatest piece of baseball cinema in history.
Lt. Frank Drebin goes to a Seattle Mariners - California Angels game to foil a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth. He poses as national anthem opera singer Enrico Pallazzo, then poses as the home plate umpire until the seventh inning stretch. It’s revealed that Angels right fielder Reggie Jackson is the mind-controlled sleeper agent. Drebin thwarts the attempt, and every Angels fan in. . . uhh Dodger Stadium, sings the praises of Enrico Pallazzo.
PART 3: ( You’ll have to click on the link because this video does not allow embedding.)
If you took the time to watch (or re-watch) the above five clips, that’s the best part of this article. The Naked Gun is a comedic masterpiece.
Drebin and Priscilla Presley live happily ever after, where “ever after” means until Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear.
I probably watch these segments of The Naked Gun at least once every several months. Last week, a new pointless set of questions occurred to me for the first time. What about the Angels-Mariners game? Whatever happened to it? I started thinking about this as a tweet, but now I can’t get it out of my head, so I’m going to write about it.
So whatever happened to the Mariners-Angels game in the Naked Gun?— mhatter106 (@mhatter106) July 1, 2020
Did Reggie get ejected? Did they finish the game? Did MLB even count it as official after it was revealed it was being officiated by a fake umpire?
Did they stop the game?
They had to have stopped the game. An earthquake stopped Game 3 of the 1989 World Series before it even began. Just this past year, an NHL game between the Anaheim Ducks and the St. Louis Blues was suspended when a player collapsed midgame.
They stop baseball games if it’s raining just a little too much.
Someone tried to kill the queen of England. There’s no way the players are trotting back out there to finish the seventh after an attempted regicide. (Reggie-cide?)
So the game is over?
If they stopped the game, by MLB rules it would be.
From this shot of Reggie, we can see the scoreboard, and it’s 4-3 Angels over Mariners at the seventh inning stretch. With the home team leading in the middle of an inning, the game can just be called and made official.
But would it really be official?
The world has just been shown that the entire game has been officiated at home plate by a police officer. Well, actually, they think it’s been officiated by opera singer Enrico Pallazzo. Either way, balls, strikes and more have been decided for six and a half innings by someone who is clearly not an MLB umpire. Is this game actually going to count?
Maybe initially, but I’m sure the Mariners would file a formal protest. Protests over incorrect officiating rarely ever get upheld. The most famous example is “The Pine Tar Game” where the Royals protested calling George Brett out for hitting a home run with too much pine tar on his bat. But I think the Mariners win this protest.
But considering the 1988 California Angels finished 29 games out of the AL West lead and the Mariners a whopping 35.5 games out, the other answer to this would be “Who cares? It doesn’t matter.” (On more than one level.)
Okay, but what about Reggie?
If the game is ended, he can’t really be ejected, or if he were it would be symbolic only. But does he get suspended? Mind control or not, he did try to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II. The other umpires (Joe West included) might have stood idly by while Drebin gave players a pass on ball doctoring and bat corking, but it’s going to be hard for commissioner Peter Ueberroth to look the other way on one of his players aiming a handgun at the Queen of England.
He could appeal. He could cite Police Squad’s clearing him of all charges to the commissioner’s office. How much weight a vouch from a law enforncement team that employs O.J. Simpson carries is debatable, but Reggie would get it. But in the commissioner’s office, the “It wasn’t me, it was the Ricardo Montalban mind control” excuse may be as ineffective as the “I didn’t know what I was putting into my body” steroids defense. Ultimately, it is up to Reggie to make sure he avoids the Wrath of Khan.
Reggie would have been out awhile after this game too. It’s hard to think that a 42 year old player who just had a fat lady fall on him from the upper deck is going to avoid time on the DL. So he can’t even start to serve the suspension until he recovers from that.
At that point, we’re talking him returning in the 1989 season at age 43. He might not want to go through the rehab and serve the suspension. Maybe just better to hang up his cleats for good.
Forget Lou Gehrig’s “The Luckiest Man” Day. If this Mariners-Angels game is the last game in Reggie’s career, that is the most incredible way to go out. Get tackled by a cop/umpire/opera singer, emerge from a bench clearing brawl, try to shoot the Queen of England, and get squashed by a ton of falling fans (but just one.) MLB tries to suspend you, and instead you just go, “Nah, I’m out.” That’s a mic drop.
Reggie still gets into the Hall of Fame though. Five years later, baseball writers recognize him as a victim and not a villain, and he goes in first ballot. While Pete Rose tries to tell anyone who will listen that what Reggie did was hundred times worse than what he did. And maybe he doesn’t get invited to the London series in the future.
And that’s how the Naked Gun (and easily the most notable Angels-Mariners match ever) really ends from an MLB perspective.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone.