This might not be the right year to play any April Fool’s pranks, but it is a good chance to look back on those who made us laugh, cringe or wince simply by being human.
And as someone who came in last in the staff’s NFL picks, this is not a report based on condescension for the past year. Rather, it’s a chance to celebrate the fools in all of us. Even if it would never occur to most of us to light a baseball field on fire in order to dry it out.
This also is by no means a complete list, so feel free to share any additions via Twitter @EdBarkowitz. Stay safe, stay patient and for the next month or so let’s be smarter than usual. Stay home.
Miami safety Bubba Bolden was basking in the thrill of an interception against rival Florida State one second, writhing on the ground in pain the next after teammate Gurvan Hall drilled him during the ensuing celebration. Bolden injured his ankle and was knocked out for the season, which for the Hurricanes ended with a three-game losing streak and a bowl shutout for the first time in school history.
The turmoil in October created by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in favor of Hong Kong’s fight for (gasp!) freedom from China had so many people covering their backsides it looked like a run on the towel rack at a bathing suit store. That Morey was chastised by the NBA and Rockets management for being critical of China’s tyrannical government seems even more ridiculous today.
Padres pitcher Jacob Nix tried unsuccessfully to squeeze through the doggie door of a home in Peoria, Ariz. Two problems: It wasn’t his house, and his house doesn’t have a doggie door. He was tased by the homeowner before the police showed up and arrested him on a criminal trespassing charge. Alcohol was said to be a factor. Sure hope so.
The Kansas Jayhawks, already in the NCAA’s crosshairs, really stepped into a pile when they invited Snoop Dogg to their opening night celebration of the start of basketball season and he gave them, well, a Snoop Dogg performance. The money gun shooting out fake hundreds with Snoop’s picture and marijuana leaves was one thing. The pole dancers were another. “When you pay for Snoop Dogg," the rapper explained to the Howard Stern Show, “you gonna get Snoop Dogg.”
Host Kent State hard-stopped a field hockey game between Temple and Maine in order to prepare for a daytime fireworks display (daytime!) for a football game at an adjacent stadium. The field hockey game was declared an exhibition, the student-athletes (as the NCAA loves to call them) were disgusted, and Kent State was left to issue an apologetic statement.
* Behemoth defensive lineman J.J. Watt tried to ride a kids’ bike during training camp. It did not go well for the bike.
* It was revealed in August that former Ohio University basketball star D.J. Cooper had been suspended for two years by FIBA for failing a drug test. Unfortunate, but routine, right? Well, Cooper’s attempt at using his girlfriend’s urine failed when it turned out that she was pregnant. Doh.
* Major League Baseball decided not to punish any of the Astros’ players for the sign-stealing scandal that included electronic devices and banging trash cans. “It’s sad for baseball,” Mike Trout said early in spring training. “It’s tough. They cheated. I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing.” Manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were initially suspended by the league before being fired by Houston owner Jim Crane.
* Cardinals leftfielder Marcell Ozuna prematurely climbed the fence to rob a home run, but misjudged how far the ball was hit. Ozuna tried to jump down to catch it, but fell face-first on the warning track as the ball bounced over the wall for a hilarious ground-rule double. St. Louis beat the Dodgers that night despite Ozuna’s misadventure.
* In order to dry out a rain-soaked field before a baseball game, an unidentified groundskeeper in Ridgefield, Conn., thought a fire fueled by 24 gallons of gasoline would do the trick. Some $40,000 in damage was done. The culprit remained anonymous after authorities felt criminal charges were not warranted. Just some Darwinism at work.
* Rob Gronkowski using the Patriots’ Super Bowl 53 trophy to bunt a baseball before a Red Sox game last April had the outcome you’d expect. Big freakin’ dent in it.
* This is actually admirable rather than foolish, but San Jose’s Joe Pavelski scored a goal with his face, then talked about it afterward.
* A tradition unlike any other turned into the most embarrassing moment for the ages when a security guard slipped and almost rolled Tiger Woods’ ankle at the 2019 Masters.