Happy April Fools’ Day! In honor of the hoax-inducing holiday, here are five of our favorite recent sports pranks:
1. During spring training in 2008, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick was informed by manager Charlie Manuel, among others, that he had been traded to a team in Japan. Kendrick was in a state of shock as his teammates and members of the media asked him about the deal. After what feels like a lifetime of awkward moments and blank stares from Kendrick as he obviously choked back tears, he is told the whole thing is just an elaborate ruse. It remains the gold standard of baseball pranks.
2. The scene was the Phoenix Mercury's Media Day ahead of the 2012 season, and star Diana Taurasi told her teammates that she would not be playing on the team due to a new Olympic rule that barred her from competing at the Games and in the WNBA. They were decidedly not pleased by the news. After showing off some impressive acting chops, Taurasi soon told them they were being punked and she wasn't going anywhere.
3. While celebrating the Florida Gators’ 2006 national championship at Midnight Madness the next fall, coach Billy Donovan held up the crystal trophy for all the crowd to admire and then … dropped it. And it shattered everywhere. But SIKE! Turns out, it was all just a Friday the 13th joke and the real trophy was safely locked in a nearby case. The looks of complete devastation on the players' faces prove they were not in on this one.
4. During a Maryland basketball game in 2009, the gang over at College Humor pulled a prank on one of their own. Even the Terp got involved. The guy was chosen to shoot a blindfolded, halfcourt shot at halftime with a $500,000 prize at stake, and the crowd cheers wildly as if the ball has gone through the net after he shoots. Of course, it wouldn't be on this list if that were the case. The crowd was instructed to cheer as if it went in and let him run around the crowd and celebrate his incredible financial gain... and then feel the total shame and humiliation after being told the truth.
5. Just last month, Minnesota Twins pitcher and Wichita State alum Mike Pelfrey gave the Shockers' basketball team a pep talk before the NCAA tournament. At least, he thought he did. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire convinced Pelfrey that he was talking over the phone to the players, but he was actually just on speaker in the clubhouse down the hallway -- a fact he hilariously discovers just moments later.