Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Carmen Fanzone, Part 3

Case closed? The baseball impostures seem to have tailed off in the late-1970s, just as a comedic saboteur named Don Novello was gaining notoriety for his Saturday Night Live character Father Guido Sarducci (shown here). Blazing a trail later followed most notably by Sacha Baron Cohen, Novello pushed his Sarducci characterization beyond the limits of fiction by getting arrested at the Vatican in 1981 for impersonating a priest. For some reason, no inquiry was made at the time of the arrest into any other possible past impersonations, and the strange case of Carmen Fanzone aka Craig Swan was never solved. As recently as 2000, Novello seemed to wink about his unnoticed years as a mustachioed major league baseball cipher by writing the San Francisco Giants a sardonic letter containing an idea about employing Portuguese Water Dogs to retrieve home runs hit into the bay just beyond the borders of their new ballpark. The Giants, in addition to not recognizing Novello’s apparent desire to be punished for mocking baseball by leading the league in earned run average the same year he made several appearances on a nationally televised comedy show, also failed to fathom the satiric nature of the letter and promptly implemented the idea. When the Giants subsequently discontinued the program, Novello put a curse on the franchise.


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