Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
We celebrate April 1 with a look back at the sports year in fools.
THIS MAY HAVE been a disappointing year in Philadelphia sports, but mankind once again came through with plenty of missteps for our annual report on the year in fools.
While social media was again a big contributor, there are plenty of other examples of man having the proverbial chair pulled out from under him. From KKK outfits to the stadium design that resembled a toilet, we certainly fumbled our way through these last 365 days.
As always, we start with the easiest target in this annual exercise of tossing boulders from the living room of our glass house.
Daily News sports writer Ed Barkowitz wrote during last year's playoffs that Dave Poulin was the only Flyers captain to lead the team to multiple Stanley Cup finals appearances.
The clause "since Bobby Clarke" was deleted at some point and the mistake found its way into the newspaper.
Anger and mortification quickly ensued, and the following correction was published on April 24: "The Daily News yesterday should have said that Dave Poulin was the last captain to lead the Flyers to multiple appearances in the Stanley Cup finals. Bobby Clarke, of course, led the team to three from 1974-76."
Yeah, heard he even won two of them.
Here's an example of why automation is dangerous. This tweet, which we've edited, made it onto the air during Canadian network TSN's coverage of the hockey trade deadline:
"I want the leafs to keep lupul solely based upon the fact that he phaneuf's wife."
TSN later said there was no basis for the allegation made in the tweet.
Knicks chairman James Dolan received a scathing email from fan Irving Bierman blasting the team for another hopeless season. His response:
"You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess . . . You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the mean while start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you."
"He accused my husband of things he is guilty of," Joan Bierman told the Myrtle Beach Sun-News, where the couple lives. "I'm married to this man for 48 years. He's one of the nicest, kindest people. He's very outspoken, but that's OK. He's not phony. He speaks his mind."
Yo, Pete. Just give the ball to Marshawn Lynch.
Texas A&M student assistant coach Mike Richardson twice shoved West Virginia players during the Liberty Bowl, the second time smacking a kid violently on the back of the helmet.
A&M won the game. Richardson lost his job.
Cassie Baalke, a passionate 49ers fan who is well-connected, vented this about San Fran's offensive coordinator following a 19-3 loss.
"Greg Roman can take a hike. The 49ers don't want you no more."
Though her father, 49ers GM Trent Baalke, quickly apologized, she was kinda right. Roman was let go by the Niners after the season.
Dallas tried to generate traffic for its game in London with the Jacksonville Jaguars with the tag #CowboysUK. Problem was, opposing fans saw it as #CowboySUK.
A preliminary drawing of the design of the new arena for the Golden State Warriors looked spot-on like a toilet bowl, which had the team playing major damage control.
"This was clearly a reminder of the speed and fury of the Internet," spokesman P.J. Johnston told ESPN.com. "This story spread like wildfire and became part of the news cycle. In the end, we will build a great home for the Warriors in an incredible location and we will meet the expectations of our fans."
Giants pitcher Matt Cain landed on the disabled list when he tried to catch a knife he had dropped while making a ham-and-cheese sandwich. The mishap caused a cut on his pitching hand.
"I wanted to make it fancy in triangles," he said.
Those contrived news conferences where kids breathlessly declare their college intention went awry for one recruit.
Carlton Bragg, a forward out of Cleveland, put on a Kansas Jayhawks hat and announced his intention to attend "the University of Kentucky." Obviously, the kid was nervous and just misspoke. Still, it was the only thing Kentucky has lost all year.
When Mariners scout Butch Baccala jokingly sent an ice-cream sandwich to pudgy first baseman Jesus Montero, Montero responded by taking a bat into the stands looking to knock the vanilla out of Baccala. Montero's weight, 275 pounds at one point last year, was threatening his career. He's down to 235, and trying to work his way back into the majors. Baccala's contract with the M's organization was not renewed.
USC d-back Josh Shaw nearly killed his football future by not only jumping off a third-floor balcony wearing only flip-flops, but then by fabricating a story about trying to save his nephew from drowning. He had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend, and when someone called police, Shaw fled.
He had injured both of his ankles and came up with the story to throw coaches off the trail. He came clean when it all unraveled. Shaw was never charged with a crime and he eventually put the pieces back together in time to play in three games and get invited to the NFL Combine.
"I just tell the truth about what happened," Shaw said prior to the Senior Bowl. "They understand that it's over with. The main thing for them is just to see me be very forthcoming and transparent with them."
The Cardinals acquired John Lackey at the trade deadline and Lackey was so interested in keeping his uniform number that he traded a rare baseball card signed by Babe Ruth to reliever Pat Neshek, who had been wearing No. 41.
A few months later, Neshek signed with the Houston Astros. He got a 2-year deal worth $12.5 million, plus whatever the Ruth card is worth for renting his uniform number for 2 months.
The Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League were beset by such financial mismanagement that they lost the lease on their home arena and their website.
The website might not seem like too much of a big deal, except the 2 weeks or so that OrlandoPredators.com redirected fans to a law-enforcement page detailing sexual predators in the Orlando area. Yikes.
The team is on firmer financial footing now and its website has been restored.
Claude Giroux was detained in Ottawa over the summer for reportedly and repeatedly grabbing the buttocks of a police officer. He was not charged with a crime, and apologized for his "misguided attempt at humor." One of our headlines was "Tres Cheek," though "Clawed Giroux" also was mentioned.
Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison celebrated a popout that dropped his slump to 2-for-17 by smashing a bat against the dugout wall. A piece of the shattered wood cut him above the eye, requiring five stitches.
"Obviously I acted like a 3-year-old," Morrison said afterward. "I apologized to my teammates . . . I'm embarrassed. No matter how bad I'm playing, I can't do that."
Not only was he humiliated, but he was darn lucky he wasn't more seriously injured. Morrison also hit .278 the rest of the way.
To celebrate the impending World Cup, the British retailer Asda designed wearable English flags with a pointed hood that sure looked like KKK outfits. Asda said the pointed hood was intended only as protection from wet weather. Uhh, no.
Following his arrest, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell told officers, "I didn't know that you could get a DUI for being high. I smoked 2 hours ago. I am not high anymore. I am perfectly fine. Why would I be getting high if I had to get on a plane to make it to my game?"
San Francisco's mass transit system is rolling out new train cars and the colors of the interior sure resemble what hated rival Seattle wears. This comes directly from an FAQ on the Bay Area Rapid Transit website:
Q: I heard the new trains use Seattle Seahawks colors? Is that true?
A: No, the primary Seahawks color is a dark navy, whereas the BART train cars use a traditional BART blue. The greens are also different.
Boy. Imagine if SEPTA ever went to blue, white and gray.