January Fools: The Soccer Hoax

On April 1, 1985, a now-iconic article by George Plimpton appeared in Sports Illustrated, profiling a Mets pitching prospect named Hayden “Sidd” Finch. A “28-year-old, somewhat eccentric mystic,” Finch wore hiking boots on the mound, had learned a special technique from a yogi in Tibet and could throw a 168-mile-per-hour fastball. Finch was incredible. Really incredible. Like, if you believe this, I have a bridge to sell you. It was April Fools Day after all.

Last week, the London Times listed the “top 50 rising stars” in soccer. At No. 30 was a 16-year-old Moldovan player, Masal Bugduv. The youngster had been mentioned on a number of soccer websites, on goal.com and in some supposed AP stories. (Like all teenage prodigies, Bugduv was linked to Arsenal.) But the confederation of online soccer fans quickly began to doubt his existence. Did he have a nose for the goal reminiscent of a certain Siddharta Guatama? Could he play in hiking boots? Read the rest at ESPN.

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