Published September 16, 2013
Bobby Riggs throwing his match against Billie Jean King. Michael Jordan's famous "flu game" in the playoffs. Sunday night's daily double of the Knicks fixing games and the mysterious whistle at the 49ers-Seahawks game.
Sports is full of conspiracy theories. But earlier this month, America's Pastime collided with one of the pillars of conspiracy theories -- UFOs. Now, after almost two weeks, the truth has apparently been revealed.
Sorry, "X Files" nuts.
Fans at a minor league baseball game in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sept. 3 got quite the treat when an object appeared just beyond the trees beyond the right field fence at Scotiabank Field's Nat Bailey Stadium during a game between the Everett AquaSox and the host Vancouver Canadians. Like a scene right out your favorite "Are they out there" documentaries, here's the home video -- following the usual pattern (oblivious public, object in the distance, quick zoom in for that OMG! moment, zoom back out, and the rest is up to you) -- that set off a firestorm.
And it didn't take long for the UFO to take on a life of its own.
UFO over RF fence @vancanadians #beateverett ... C's lead 2:1 with 1 out in the bottom of 6 with bases loaded! pic.twitter.com/Jeh88dHvNZ
-- KayDee (@kdkeitel) September 4, 2013 And the fingers to start flying.
Rumour has it the alien spaceship beyond right field is from Everett. #BeatEverett
-- Vancouver Canadians (@vancanadians) September 4, 2013 Soon thereafter, it was given credit for starting a rally.
@vancanadians Alien Spaceship? What?! Details!! Is it like this one?! pic.twitter.com/MfCqne2Yc2
-- Brenden Smith (@Brennnasty) September 4, 2013
But late last week, the UFO became in IFO. No teenage prank, no hooligans, no aliens. Just . . . a freakin' marketing campaign?!?!?!
Turns out the H.R. MacMillan Space Center in Vancouver launched the drone in the shape of the Center to promote its new planetarium theater. MacMillan admitted its role in the hoax in a press release, stating that it wanted to "create a buzz about the new planetarium viewer experience at Vanier Park," which underwent a half-million dollar renovation over the summer.
Well, one of the videos of the sighting at the baseball game has received more than 300,000 views on YouTube. And according to the release, attendance is up at the theater more than 65 percent compared to the same time last year. And now this hoax has the sports world talking.
Create a buzz? Job well done.