EUGENE, Ore. -- The press release issued late Wednesday night said University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli would pitch for the Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball team this season.
So KVAL Sports called the Emeralds to ask, point blank, if it was an April Fool's joke.
And the media relations director for the farm team for the San Diego Padres organization said no, it was serious.
The story unraveled on Thursday morning - and the Emeralds organization changed their tune.
Onalee Carson, Eugene Emeralds director of media relations, said the organization planned to wait until 3 p.m. Thursday to announce the Masoli story was an April Fool's joke. She came clean to KVAL News Thursday morning.
"It's an April Fool's joke, so happy April first," she said.
Carson said minor league baseball teams have been playing April Fool's jokes for years. They sent the release out around 10 p.m. March 31 hoping to get the "news" out in time for East Coast radio shows and ESPN.
She said Ems management came up with the idea last night on the spur of the moment.
She didn't expect local news to run with it at 11 p.m.
"I didn't anticipate getting those calls," Carson said.
KVAL News carried the story after KVAL Sports staff contacted Carson, asked her if the release was a joke - and she said, "No."
"To be honest, we couldn't have said it was a joke because it wasn't Aprils Fool's," Carson said. "Our goal was to kind of promote the newness of the Ems through this marketing monster."
She said they did not tell University of Oregon officials or Masoli beforehand.
Watch an interview with Onalee Carson
Carson said the fake press release and lying to local media Wednesday night has proven to be a successful promotion. The organization received several calls Thursday morning about season tickets.
"I would do it again," she said. "I would change the way it was released."
"We are in the entertainment biz," she said, "and people forget that."
The Ems played their last game in historic Civic Stadium last season. They open the coming season at PK Park on the University of Oregon campus.
"The Emeralds are being taken in a different direction," she said. "We like to think that we're now fun and exciting, and this reinforces the idea that we are different."
Chip Kelly jokes about Masoli April Fool's joke