Unable to afford the $500 registration fee to join a bowling league, Homer and his friends (Moe, Apu, and Otto) go to Mr. Burns for a sponsorship. Homer sneaks into Burns office, where he finds an anesthetized Burns (who mistakes him for the Pillsbury Doughboy). Homer takes this opportunity to get Burns to sign the check. Meanwhile, at school, Bart's "Down with homework" T-shirt incites a student riot, and as a result, Principal Skinner forces all students to wear uniforms in order to prevent it from happening again.
Back at the bowling alley, Homer and his friends enter the bowling league competition, calling themselves the Pin Pals. They beat three teams before moving up into second place in their league. Meanwhile, Burns recovers from his stupor and discovers the check he wrote to Homer. Burns surprises everyone when he reveals he not only isn't mad but also wants to join the team (replacing Otto in the team), but since Burns is a horrible bowler, the team is convinced they will lose the championship.
Back at school, Skinner's dress code demoralizes the students until a rainstorm soaks through the uniforms, causing the grey color to be washed out, revealing tie-dye colors that make the playful spirit of the children return. At the bowling alley, before the championship game begin, Burns gives the team new shirts. Two pins away from victory, Burns takes his turn. Otto tips over a vending machine and the vibrations help the Pin Pals win by knocking down the pins. As the team celebrates their win, Burns takes the trophy and keeps it for himself. Cheered on by his teammates, Homer attempts to break into the mansion and recover the trophy; however, this ends disastrously when the hounds are released and catch Homer a few feet from the gate, mauling him severely.