Season 6, Episode 19: The Unnaturalon February 7, 2021 at 12:01 am
The Homestead Grays jersey I’m wearing in this strip is real; I wear it in triple homage to the Negro Leagues, my hometown of Pittsburgh, and this X-Files episode. I got it from Steel City Cotton Works, which seems to be out of the jersey but still sells a T-shirt version.
This episode introduces Arthur Dales’ brother, Arthur Dales.
When I was in college back in the early ’80s, my friend and I used to call our whiffleball team The Williston Grays, in honor of the Homestead Grays and a really mediocre small town in SC
Imagine that. I’ve been thru Williston quite a few times in trips from Aiken down to Charleston, stopping and eating along the way as well. Nice little town.
A (belated) thanks for coming back and writing up all these episodes, this def one of my all time favs. Been in a fantasy baseball league for decades now, named my team after this one.
This is an awesome episode. As a lover of absolutely apalling puns, I’m very fond of the tagline (“In the Big Inning”).
This is the final episode that was in either Shaenon or Jeff’s list of Top 5 Non Darin Morgan Episodes of the X-Files! Here’s what Shaenon wrote about it back in 2010:
Mulder visits retired agent Arthur Dales’ brother, Arthur Dales (“our parents weren’t exactly big in the imagination department”) and hears a heartwarming baseball story set in 1940s Roswell. At the center of the tale is Josh Exley, an alien invader who defects from his fleet, disguises himself as a black man, and joins a minor league baseball team, all for the love of the game. “The X-Files” was often at its best when it wandered from its established milieu of sci-fi horror, and this episode is unmistakably a departure: a combination sports story, period piece and loving tribute to postwar UFO nuttery (which has its own special flavor distinct from other UFO nuttery). It could stand on its own as a short film. Jesse Martin is great as Exley, and tell me the ending doesn’t make you tear up at least a little.
I have never seen this episode, but now I want to, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Also, I currently live a long but manageable walk from the Homestead Grays Bridge, albeit on the Pittsburgh side of the river. (The walk back is beastly, though, so if I want to cross the river I’ll drive.)
Also also, I heartily agree that we need more pop culture about the Negro Leagues, to which end I’ll offer this one: While there may be room for debate about whether opera qualifies as “pop culture”, there does exist an opera about Negro Leagues power hitter Josh Gibson, and I have seen it. While I don’t know enough about opera as an art form to comment on its aesthetic merits, I did think the operatic treatment suited Gibson’s story really well.
For some reason I thought this episode’s title was “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'”. Huh.