“Sidd” Finch

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I am writing this on April 1st which, as you know, happens to be April Fool’s Day.  I have had some fun on this day in the past.  While teaching George Orwell’s 1984 and trying to convince my students that “truth is whatever you believe to be true”, I invented a student.  I faked his registration at school, gave him a personality, a visual, and, obviously, a name.  I had my class talk about this “person” to other students just to spread the word in order to prove my lesson.  It did not take long for curiosity to take over.

Girls would stand around outside my class room just to get a glimpse of this young man, who many had said was quite good-looking.  Of course, I had to create excuses for why he was not in my class.  I would say he was called to the office, had a doctor’s appointment, etc.  I even went so far as to get him placed on the absentee list.

My literature class could not believe the excitement generated by this non-existent person.  He became real to so many that my point about “truth” became self-evident.  In fact, I had to curtail the experiment when someone had set up a blind date with a girl.  Not wanting to embarrass anyone, I exposed the ruse.

One April Fool’s Day fell on a Monday and I appeared as a guest on WZZO as I always did every Monday morning in the Bearman and Keith’s studio.  I tried to bring interesting sports stories to their morning show every Monday.  So on this morning, I reported that one of the Phillies greatest players, Mike Schmidt, had been traded right before I got to the studio.  This was well before you could do instant fact-checking on Google.  Bearman and Keith and the audience bought in.  The report generated the most interest and the most phone calls of any of my appearances.  Fans were angry, perplexed, and bewildered.  I had a good time with it right up until the moment I revealed the lie. The groans could be heard throughout the Valley.

My escapades were minor compared to what George Plimpton did in 1985 for Sports Illustrated.  The managing editor noticed that the magazine would hit the newsstand on April 1.  He asked Plimpton to right about jokes in sports.  Plimpton could not find anything he liked so he asked if he could create his own hoax.

Plimpton created Hayden Siddhartha “Sidd” Finch, a baseball pitcher for the New York Mets.  Plimpton hired a stand-in, Joe Berton, to play the part, invented an entire biography, posted photographs, got the Mets to go along with the story, and foisted #21 onto the national scene.

Mets fans were thrilled with their newfound talent.  Editors of other publications were angry with the Mets that they gave the story to Sports Illustrated.  Finch got his own locker and media flocked to get more of the story.  A press conference was announced and, on April 2, Finch (Berton) announced his retirement.

The press release read: “He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, Sidd’s deciding about yoga—and his future in baseball.”  The first letters each of these words spell out “Happy April Fool’s Day – a(h) fib”.

The magazine officially announced the hoax in the April 15 issue.

If you are so inclined, you can read the entire article at this site:

https://www.si.com/mlb/2014/10/15/curious-case-sidd-finch

I hope you got through the day without any repercussions. 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. The one #1 seed in the NCAA bracket that I thought would falter was Virginia. And now, they are the only #1 seed going to the Final Four.  #3 Texas Tech, #5 Auburn, and #2 Michigan State will join them.  It was reported this past weekend that the one perfect bracket left in all the various submissions (tens of millions) throughout the country faltered by picking Tennessee over Purdue.  A neuropsychologist had correctly picked a record 49 straight games until the Purdue loss in overtime.  The odds of getting 49 correct were 1 in 562,949,953,421,312.
  1. You may be wondering what the conferences make financially from the NCAA in the tournament. Every conference (32 of them) earns at least $282,100.  The more teams you advance, the more money you get.  The SEC with Auburn in the Final Four gets $32.1 million; the Big Ten gets $35.5 million; the ACC gets $33.8 million.
  1. With all the appropriate excitement about the Phillies’ start to the season, did you notice the start by last year’s MVP, Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich – home runs in each of the first four games. And he added a two-run double in the ninth on Sunday to give his team a 5-4 win.  He is looking like an MVP all over again.
  1. Bryce Harper, who hit two home runs this past weekend as the Phillies swept three games from the Braves, now travels to Washington where he signed his original contract in 2010. The atmosphere there should be electric.
  1. Lafayette College baseball is celebrating its 150th year of intercollegiate competition this season. The Leopards have throwback uniforms which they will wear when they play Lehigh to commemorate the anniversary on April 17 at 3:30pm.  RCN-TV will bring you the game.
Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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