Friday, April 2, 2010

Sorry, people. It was just an April Fool's joke.

OK, folks, it’s the day after April 1st, so it’s time for me to fess up. The blog I wrote – or should I say concocted – yesterday about me landing a job with the Yankees and Beth starting up a pet-sitting business in the Big Apple was an April Fool’s Day joke.

Yes, it has been a struggle since I left the newspaper business and, yes, the stuff about the four books I’m going to be publishing was true. But Beth and I aren’t going anywhere - though some of my friends and relatives might want to run me out of town after falling for my prank.

Even my son was duped. He actually called me from the University at Buffalo yesterday to congratulate me. And my college roommate also left me a message to tell me how happy he was for me before realizing he had been had. Several friends said they were disappointed – not that they had been fooled, but rather that they weren’t going to be able to hit me up for Yankee tickets.

One reader brought up the greatest sporting hoax of all – Sidd Finch. Some of you might remember that fictitious tale spun by George Plimpton in a cover story in the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. The article told of a pitcher in the Mets organization who could throw the ball 168 mph and who had studied to be a yogi (no relation to Mr. Berra) in Tibet. SI included photographs of Finch conversing with then-Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemeyre and outfielder Lenny Dykstra. Scores of readers fell for it hook, line and sinker. It wasn’t until two issues later that the magazine ran a story telling folks that it all was a ruse.

My friend and long-time newspaper colleague, John Moriello, works for FoxSports.com, and he told me that Nike pulled a fast one yesterday that had him and other reputable reporters and editors scrambling. Nike boasted of discovering a junior college wide receiver who was 6-foot-7 and ran the 40-yard dash in a record 3.9 seconds. Only one problem with this unreal prospect. He was unreal, as in he didn’t exist. Needless to say, John and other reputable journalists were ticked at Nike.

When I was talking to my college roommate, Ed Shaw, last night, he told me how excited he was for me as he was reading yesterday’s blog, and how peeved he became when he discovered it wasn’t true. “Scott,’’ he admonished, “don’t do that again.’’

I promised him I wouldn't 364 out of 365 days of the year.

Thanks for going along with the gag, folks. You’re all good sports.

* I'd like to congratulate my good friend and vintage base ball teammate Max Robertson on his retirement from Greece Arcadia Middle School, where he was a long-time art teacher. As I told him the other day, the teaching profession has lost a great one, and I'm not "fooling" when I say that. Also, I'm happy to report that Max's better half, Kathy, is recuperating from her recent surgery and getting stronger every day.