Those who read the story carefully will find some signals of GQ's trickery. Floyd's birthday is April Fool's Day; players include Irving Clifford, second basemen George Frey and James Plimpton, and manager Billy "Stack" Stackhouse. Irving Clifford is a reference to writer Clifford Irving, best known for writing an unauthorized fake autobiography of Howard Hughes; George Frey and James Plimpton are transposed names of fake memoirist James Frey and George Plimpton, author of "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch," a novel about a fictitious baseball pitcher with a 200 mph fastball. Stackhouse, meanwhile, references both "Candid Camera" and MTV's prank program "Punk'd" in an "interview" with Gay. Finally, Gay's bio at the end of the story says he is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, which he is not.
"The hard part about doing a piece like this is you want to walk that careful line between having fun with [it] and being playful and shouting fire in a crowded theater," explained Gay. "You want to have the spoof reveal itself the deeper you read into the piece."
Gay, incidentally, also wrote a satirical presidential background check of Stephen Colbert in the same issue. But he notes that pranking the reader will not be a regular gig. "You obviously can't do this every month, because people will get irritated by you. You pick your spots."
GQ will reveal the spoof to readers in its July issue. As for the June issue, Gay guarantees: "Every other word in GQ is true." — S.D.S.
GAWKER GROWS: Gawker Media's 14th blog, Jezebel, launches today with a focus on women, women's media and fashion. Anna Holmes, who has worked at Star and In Style, will be managing editor, alongside former Wall Street Journal reporter Moe Tkacik as editor, and Jennifer Gerson, formerly assistant to Elle editor in chief Roberta Myers, as associate editor. In typical Gawker fashion, the new site will both aggregate content from other media and generate some new stories.