I love a good prank. I won’t lie, I have always kind of wanted to put a stapler in Jello like Jim Halpert courageously did to Dwight Shrute, but have thought better of it.
So needless to say, I enjoy April 1.
Last year on the Storm Chasers social media channels, a post claimed the team had an important announcement, instructing followers to view the video attached to the post to find out what was being announced. Only there was no video. It was a static image that appeared to look like a video.
It was fun to see the reactions that day, and I was glad to see everyone laugh and enjoy it. After all, as much as we are a baseball team, we are also a form of entertainment. Some come out to baseball games for the actual baseball itself, but others are here to get away and/or be entertained. Chalk up a successful, fun post.
Fast-forward a year, and we needed another April Fool’s joke. What could we do?
With many Minor League Baseball teams changing their names to a unique moniker for a limited number of games, the idea was hatched in March to create a fake name and jersey that would be ”announced” on April 1: the Omaha Potholes. After some rudimentary Photoshop work, we had a logo and a “date” set for the “promotion”: the non-existent June 31, which was the clue that this was, in fact, just a joke.
After a quick and final okay from our President and General Manager Martie Cordaro, the posts were sent just before that morning’s staff meeting at 9:00am. I had a feeling it would go over well, but I had no idea what was awaiting at my computer after that meeting.
The response was overwhelming (to say the least). While many got the joke immediately, many of those voices also shouted for a prank to become a reality. Things got dialed up to 11 when sports business reporter Darren Rovell fell for the joke later that day.
And then a question started to be asked around the office: is this something we could actually pull off?
Department heads met, talking about the logistics required.
What night could we do this? How quickly could gear be made? Could jerseys be made in time to be worn during the game? And what about our community?
We pride ourselves on being leaders in the Omaha Metro and helping however we can, whenever we can. The previous month, historic floods had inundated our surrounding community. We already raised money through other means, but this could be another way to help.
Theme nights do not normally come together in two days because all of these logistics need to be ironed out. Phone calls need to be made, emails need to be sent, and so much must come together from many different departments to bring it all into one night.
Incredibly, the details were filled in (sorry, couldn’t resist) quite quickly, and we got another “okay” from Martie to release some actual news just two days after that first post: Omaha Potholes Night was happening on a real date: April 24.
Many have purchased tickets for that night. Hundreds have bought gear. Thousands of dollars have been raised for our community. All because of a prank that was willed into reality by countless followers.
The response truly has been remarkable, and I still find myself shaking my head at it all.
In the end, I suppose, the joke was on us.
-Andrew Green, the mastermind behind the April Fools joke that was the Omaha Potholes.