Commenter Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every week. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
Tomorrow is April Fools' Day. If you're the type of person who loves the first of April, I'm going to ask you a favor: please stop. Just stop. Whatever you're planning for tomorrow, it's not going to be funny - in fact, it's probably going to be anti-funny. It will be un-satirical, non-humorous, and mirth-hindering.
About 26 years ago, the great George Plimpton invented Sidd Finch for Sports Illustrated, in what one ranking has dubbed the second greatest April Fool's Day hoax of all time. It's hard not to like the story of Siddharta Finch, but that's mostly because Plimpton wrote it; his other writing carries the same sense of wonderment. Ultimately, the only fun April Fools' Day hoaxes are those that are simply tongue-in-cheek or whimsical. Like Finch, or Terry Jones and the colony of flying penguins, they exist to make us laugh, not to make us believe.
So tomorrow, if you're thinking about promulgating a hoax or pulling a prank, ask yourself - who am I trying to entertain, today? If you're trying to make the world laugh, then you'll probably fail, but okay. But if you're only trying to make yourself laugh, if you're trying to make yourself the only smart one in a room of confused people, then congratulations - you're joining the long list of otherwise talented people who, like drunks trying to scale a curb at a Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade, fall on their faces in the attempt to be funny on April Fool's Day.
On with the links:
*We lead off this week with a twenty-year-old piece about minor-league baseball, because that's how we live, here in the Weekend Links. Miami Herald humorist Dave Barry made the trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, to then-Marlins affiliate the Erie Sailors. Things have changed in the past two decades, and perhaps today minor league baseball is not run quite so casually. Still, though, a thousand monkeys banging on a thousand typewriters about the thousand glories of baseball couldn't capture them any better than Barry does.
*Earlier this year, I wrote about why female athletes posing for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue didn't seem right to me. The Freakonomics blog highlighted some interesting new research on the same topic.
*I love both sandwiches and soccer, so I can hardly describe my excitement at this article that involves both: an examination of how the term "prawn sandwich eaters" became a pejorative among English soccer fans.
*While we're on the subject of soccer, the English newspaper the Guardian wrote a nice piece on the Independent Supporters' Council that promotes fan welfare in Major League Soccer
*And finally, there are two ways to respond to the latest local-sportswriter kerfuffle. Craig Calcaterra at the Hardball Talk blog posted a rumination on the dangers of access a few weeks before the latest blowup. I would call this the "measured" way of thinking about the issue. On the flip side, the great Stu responded at Twinkie Town with hilarity, and disdain for all parties. This may be less measured, but it's far, far funnier, and if you didn't read it yesterday go read it now.