By Michael Brooks
With April Fool Days come pranks and jokes. You would be surprised at some of the creative ways sports people-whether an athlete themselves or someone whose job involves sports-have pranked people over the years. No, not all of these happened on April 1, but you could still use the ideas for your own April Fooling.
Probably the best sports related April Fools joke of all time is The Curious Case of Sid Finch.
Sports Illustrated writer George Plimpton wrote an article about Sid Finch, a New York Mets rookie at training camp who could “throw a baseball 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy, without needing to warm up.”
Finch had never played baseball before and was at training camp, trying to decide if he wanted to play baseball or to “play the French horn, or golf” instead.
The Mets played along with the joke, providing a jersey to a S.I. photographer who got a friend to pose as Finch.
When the story came out, Mets fans couldn’t believe thier luck at their new rookie. Several other newspapers from around the county sent reporters to New York to get an interview with Finch.
T.V. and news stations sent reporters to a press conference where the person playing Finch announced his retirement.
The first letter of each word in the sub-headline spelled out “Happy April Fools’ Day” but despite this and what the writer believed was an absurd article, most people believed it to be true.
A couple of weeks later S.I. announced it was a hoax.
Aside from being one of the best baseball players ever, Ken Griffey Jr. put together some great pranks in his playing days.
Griffey lost a bet with his manager over a steak dinner. In order to pay off the debt, Griffey Jr., put a live cow inside the manager’s office.
Griffey also lost a $1,500 bet and paid it off...with 150,000 pennies. He put all the pennies, 60 boxes worth, each weighing 16 pounds, in his teammates locker.
As former MLB player Jeff Francoer was nearing the end of his career, he was playing for the San Diego Padre’s AAA team in El Paso.
The team convinced him that teammate Jorge Reyes was deaf. For a month this went on with teammates and even Reyes’ wife using “sign language” to communicate with Reyes.
Of course the pranking is not limited to baseball. During an NBA game in 2004, Lakers rookie Tony Bobbitt spotted Lucy Liu in attendance and started telling teammates she was checking him out the whole game.
Some veteran teammates had the ball boy bring Bobbitt a piece of paper that had “Lucy Liu’s” phone number written on it. The number was actually teammate Vlade Divac’s phone number. Divac got someone to talk as Liu on the phone to set up a date with Bobbitt.
Bobbitt showed up for the date and found Divac waiting for him.
If you are an April Fool-er, and are at a loss for ideas, maybe these will give you some ideas.