Fish story goes awry in Bakersfield

As much as many people fashion themselves as comedians each year at the beginning of April, most April Fools' pranks produce little more than a chuckle.

The list of jokes gone wrong seems to grow longer each year when April 1 comes around. Add the Bakersfield Californian and its outdoors writer, Steve Merlo, to that category.

In a blunder detailed by the website Deadspin, the paper mistakenly ran a fake item submitted by Merlo in its outdoors column on Friday.

Merlo submitted a note on a wildlife exchange between the California Department of Fish and Game and India's foreign minister of natural resources whereby India would receive 5,000 bass to serve as predators for the mahseer that were overrunning the Kashmir River, and California would get 2,000 sterile Himalayan Greta trout to control squawfish and carp populations in several California lakes and provide anglers a new challenge to conquer.

While most of the world would read Merlo's fishing note and have no idea what he was talking about, the sneaky scribe must have been guffawing to himself about how hilarious the thought would be of anyone believing Greta trout existed.

You got us this time, Steve.

Unfortunately for Merlo and the Californian editors, no one had any idea the note was fake and the item ran Friday.

The only funny thing about the situation is that Merlo, the editors who missed this "prank" and the Californian readers have to live in Bakersfield.

■ SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE -- The Miami Marlins "officially" kick off the Major League Baseball season when they host the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals tonight, a week after the Mariners and Athletics played a two-game regular-season set in Japan.

Miami has new talent all over the field, a new headline-grabbing manager in Ozzie Guillen and a new, futuristic-looking stadium that is the talk of the baseball world.

The Marlins have spent a ton of money in anticipation of near-sellout crowds this season, and tickets are selling much better than in year's past. The Associated Press, however, reports tickets still remain for tonight's home opener in the 36,000-seat stadium.

Maybe it is impossible to draw fans in Florida.

Perhaps the turnout would be better for the Marlins and Rays if they offered bingo during the seventh-inning stretch and offered coupons to the early-bird dinner at Furr's Cafeteria.

■ LIVE FROM NEW ORLEANS -- "Saturday Night Live" star Jason Sudeikis was in New Orleans to watch his beloved Kansas Jayhawks play in the Final Four over the weekend.

He was supremely confident he would be in town for two games as he felt the Jayhawks getting by Ohio State in the national semifinals was a foregone conclusion.

Appearing on the Las Vegas-based sports podcast "Extra Time with Reynolds and Marc" on Saturday morning from New Orleans, Sudeikis gave his thoughts on how the game would play out later that day.

"I feel like we're probably going to walk away with it. We're going to score triple digits, and we're going to hold them to under five," he said. "I'm expecting 101-3. It'll all be front ends of one-and-ones."

Ohio State did slightly better than that, making 14 of 15 from the line, with the only miss an intentional brick in the closing seconds as Kansas won, 64-62.