Happy April Fools Day
It's April 1 so be on the lookout today for those dreaded April Fools' Day jokes and pranks none of which will come from me although I have pulled off my share back in the day.
Many years ago before there was social media I reported a huge baseball trade involving the Yankees which ticked off many including Gene Drumwright who heard me on his way to Lakewood High School where he's a teacher and coach.
If my memory serves me correct the deal involved Don Mattingly and Gene could not understand how the Yankees could trade what was then their best player. I had to reassure him I was only joking but my former Central Regional High School teammate was not happy with me.
A few years back I pulled one off which many people took seriously as I guess they never heard the very end when I said "April Fools."
I did a rather serious Hometown View in which I announced I was leaving WOBM in a few weeks to accept a position at the Penn State University in their sports information office. At the time my son has just graduated from the school, my daughter was a freshman, I believe, and everyone knows of my love of the Nittany Lions so it seemed like a logical move.
I played it very well until the end and it was so convincing that I remember running into a woman at the post office months later who asked how my new job was going.
To me April Fools jokes are okay as long as they don't hurt anyone and you give it up pretty quickly. One of my all time favorites came back in 1985 when writer and author George Plimpton created the tale of Mets pitcher Sidd Finch for a story in Sport Illustrated. This was before social media so there was no advance publicity before the issue arrived.
The story was that the Mets had a rookie in training who had never played baseball before but could throw fastball at 168 MPH and wore only one shoe, a heavy hiker's boot on the mound. Finch was raised in an English orphanage, learned yoga in Tibet and was not sure if he would play baseball or the French horn. The Mets went along with the prank as the story included pictures of Finch with players and coaches during spring training.
I was not among those who picked up on the fact that the first letters in the words of the story's secondary headline spelled out "Happy April Fools' Day." The following week Sports Illustrated ran an article announcing that Finch had retired and a week after that they admited the story was a hoax.
So Happy April Fool's Day and be on the look out for a joke or two.