Veteran Chicago Tribune baseball writer Jerome Holtzman sent us scurrying to the reference books last week when he said that Michael Jordan's attempt to play baseball for the Chicago White Sox organization represented "the greatest hoax since the Cardiff Giant." The Cardiff Giant was supposedly the petrified remains of a giant man, unearthed in 1869 in Cardiff, N.Y., but later proved to be a block of carved gypsum. The Giant now rests in the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, which might be why Holtzman is so familiar with it.
What we still don't understand, however, is Holtzman's use of hoax. A hoax is a deliberate falsehood, sometimes involving a conspiracy. Where is the hoax here? Jordan's bid may be a quixotic quest, an uphill struggle, an absurd undertaking, a lunatic voyage or even a virtual impossibility. But unless Jordan and the White Sox are laughing and whispering, "Ha! We got 'em fooled now. They all think MJ's gonna be a major leaguer. All except Jerome," we fail to see a hoax.
Now, if someone announces that a mysterious 10-foot-tall giant is making his way through the ChiSox organization, that would be a hoax.
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