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Babe Ruthless, the baseball monster

Maybe he should have learned what a curveball was.

Babe Ruthless with the ultimate betrayer behind him.

Babe Ruthless never stood a chance.

Though, to be fair, almost no monsters born into the world of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers have a chance against the teenagers with attitude and their Megazord. But I was rooting for Babe Ruthless, damnit.

If you don’t have kids — or another reason to watch Power Rangers as an adult — you may have forgotten about Babe Ruthless from your childhood. He was not a recurring monster, he only had a few minutes of screen time, and he didn’t even get his own toy. But for a baseball fan, his brief life on the small screen was the greatest ever.

Babe Ruthless, if you couldn’t tell by his oh-so-clever name, is a baseball-themed villain named after delicious Baby Ruth candy bars, which were a huge thing in the ‘90s. His name also shares a striking resemblance to baseball legend Babe Ruth, which I assume is just a weird coincidence or something. His arms are baseball gloves and he shoots pink mist out of a cone on his forehead, which is something else he has in common with Babe Ruth.

It’s a is short, tragic and mostly forgotten story full of awful baseball puns for Mr. Ruthless. But there is so much weird goodness contained in Season 1, Episode 32 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that it’s worth having in our collective memory banks.

Watching Power Rangers as an adult without nostalgia goggles is probably a very difficult thing to do, so let’s recap it here.

* * *

The title of Mr. Ruthless’s lone appearance on Power Rangers is “A Star is Born.” While, in my mind, the star in this case is clearly the emergence of Ruthless, the episode has another idea. “A Star is Born,” in this case, is referencing most of the events that occur in the first half of the episode. You know, the half you always patiently put up with as a kid in order to get to the Megazord fight at the end.

Tommy, the green ranger, and Bulk, the larger of the two high school bullies that always show up, are both auditioning for a Martial Arts commercial holding tryouts at the Angel Grove High School. Tommy, being a god damn Power Ranger, is clearly the better candidate, but it doesn’t all go as planned. Look, you know how these things go in Power Rangers. Bulk loses, Power Rangers win, this happens, and we all continue on with our lives. We’re not here for all that. We’re here for Babe.

The gist of the battle sequences start when Putty Patrollers attack while the Rangers are on the beach. Some villain, whose name I don’t even know, has a pet worm that cocoons the Rangers in a red cylinder that clearly isn’t just a buoy that the director found in a dumpster somewhere. Then, from space, Goldar commands the Putty Patrollers to throw the Rangers into the ocean instead of burning or crushing the cocoon. It’s at that point the Rangers realize have guns that easily blast through webbing and they’re free. Yay!

Those golden words, “Babe Ruthless, the baseball monster,” are first uttered by Zordon as a warning at around the ten-minute mark in the episode when he is sent down by Goldar. Which, given that episodes are only 19 minutes sans commercials, is almost exactly halfway.

In a massive show of disrespect, Ruthless is given no time on the ground in a small form, and has no direct combat with the Rangers. The first time he is shown is when he’s already growing to Megazord height, which at this point Goldar and Rita should know means he’s going to die. Let me rephrase that: Babe Ruthless was sent to die. Sure, Goldar joins him in growing to fight, but he always runs afterwards. It’s kind of his thing.

Throughout the fight, which lasts all of four minutes, Ruthless and the Rangers manage to squeeze in a myriad of wonderfully awful baseball puns.

For your reading pleasure:

  • “Play ball!” - Ruthless, when he’s first grown and ready to complete his doomed tasked.
  • “Batter up!” - Ruthless, just moments before getting blasted in the face by a laser from Sabertooth.
  • “Try my curveball!” - Ruthless, moments before shooting lasers out of his fingers in a fashion that does not represent a curveball whatsoever.
  • “When Babe Ruthless pitches his lightning, all in its path shall be punished!” - Babe Ruthless, .... ?
  • “With Dragonzord in battle mode, we’ve got ourselves a whole new ballgame!” - Jason, after jumping into the Dragonzord and piloting his own Zord remotely because Tommy’s is way cooler.

When the talking stops and the main fighting begins, some baseball things actually happen. For a while, the Dragonzord handles all three giant enemies with the help of Jason’s Dinozord, who even partially evaded a flying clothesline attempt from Ruthless.

After everyone stops to catch their breath, Ruthless lobs this weak-ass two-seamer and takes a comebacker off the chest as a result.

That leads to the final baseball pun of the event as Jason exclaims “It’s the bottom of the ninth and we need a home run!” with what I assume is a straight face. Then, tragedy strikes. Ruthless makes one final charge, and if you look closely you can see where his plan failed.

Right around the time where he continually charged into a spinning lightning-shooting laser spear is where I’d say he went wrong. In literally the next shot, Goldar is back in space safe and sound. Did he send Ruthless on this pointless and ultimately suicidal attack so he could escape? I can’t say yes for sure, but that’s where all the evidence points.

Ruthless, like a lot of us, was just a baseball fan who wanted to make a difference. But he was led astray by Goldar and cut down before his prime by the Power Rangers. Goodnight, sweet prince.