“Kyle Kendrick was stellar in what might be his last start in a while…”
–Marshall Harris, Phillies Post Game Live
Kyle Kendrick, out on the mound, winds up and delivers a sinister strike. The umpire rears back and calls out Dexter Fowler looking. Fowler wanders back to the dugout, shellshocked, as Kyle takes a victory lap around the mound and a light, confused cheer comes from the crowd. Brian Schneider comes trotting out.
Kyle: Oh, you startled me. What’s up.
Brian: What was that?
Kyle looks around, perplexed.
Kyle: What was… we just struck out Fowler looking. Nice call on the sinker.
Brian removes his mask, his head darting around like a hummingbird. He’s white as a sheet.
Brian: Yeah, it was a great pitch… Kyle, am I having a stroke? Because you should tell me if I am and this is like, a lucid dream or something right before I die.
Kyle stares at him as Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard jog to the mound. Chase Utley stays at second base, standing motionless with his arms at his side but staring at Kyle like the killer in a slasher film before anybody has died.
Ryan: What’re you doing, Kyle?
Kyle: What do you mean? What’s wrong with everybody?
Jimmy: What’s wrong with you?
Ryan: I gotta say I’m disappointed. I thought better of you.
Jimmy looks at Ryan and winks charmingly.
Jimmy: Did you?
They share a chuckle that Kyle does not appreciate. Rich Dubee comes out from the dugout.
Kyle: Hey, good. Rich, what are these guys talking about?
Rich: Charlie wants the drugs, Kyle.
Rich: The drugs you’re clearly on. Charlie wants them. Says there’s no room for an addict on this team. Unless you’re addicted to winning. Which you’re not.
Rich looks back at the dugout. Charlie waves his hands furiously. Rich turns back to the conversation.
Rich: He says you’re embarrassing everyone. He’s not happy, Kyle.
Kyle, perplexed, sputters.
Jimmy: Now hold on, Rich, let’s not assume the worst here.
Ryan returns Jimmy’s wink from before.
Ryan: Why not?
They share another patronizing chuckle.
Jimmy: Come on, though. Kyle, maybe you just had too much sugar before the game?
Ryan: Oh, yeah. Give this guy a frosted pop tart and he turns into Dock Ellis.
Kyle: Well, yeah, I had a bowl of frosted flakes, but Mr. Halladay said I could.
Hunter Pence has sprinted in from the outfield.
Hunter: What’s up guys.
They all look at him.
Rich: Hunter… you don’t have to run in from right field for a mound meeting.
Hunter: I know, I just… I missed you guys.
He turns and heads back to the outfield. Jimmy shouts after him:
Jimmy: YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB, HUNTER!
After he’s about halfway back to his position, Jimmy whispers:
Jimmy: …we love you…
Kyle: Look, this is ridiculous. I’m just trying to pitch.
Brian: OH MY GOD.
They all look at him. He’s sniffing the air.
Brian: Do I smell oranges? No? Shit, I thought I did there for a second.
Umpire: Let’s break this up, fellas.
Rich: Phil, Kyle’s dealing with what can only be a week-long drug addiction at this point. Look at him, he looks terrible. Can you give us like 20 minutes to sort this out?
Umpire: I understand completely.
Rich: What are you on, Kyle? You hiding angel dust inside your My Little Ponies?
Ryan: Is it trouble in the bedroom?
Kyle: Why do you always ask me that?
Ryan: I just figure it’s coming.
Jimmy: Wait a minute, though. Do you mean trouble like ‘I think my wife is only pretending to enjoy sleeping in my race car bed’? Because that’s not a reason to turn to angel dust.
Ryan: Well I think that’s pretty clearly not what I meant. Though depending on where he’s keeping his My Little Ponies, it may be sort of a moodkiller.
Rich: He keeps them in his locker, guys. You know this. We see them every day.
Rich looks down at the ground, kicks some dirt.
Rich: Every fucking day…
Jimmy: Yeah, Ryan–remember after your birthday party, we stopped by the locker room and Gload shoved a couple of them in his backpack to take home for his kid?
Kyle looks at Ryan, hurt.
Kyle: You had your party, Ryan? What the heck?! I finished the puzzle!
Rich looks at the two infielders, exasperated.
Rich: Oh come on, guys. The puzzle thing again?
Brian: I knew it. I KNEW IT. My legs are going. This is it… THIS IS IT… wait no. They just fell asleep because we’ve been out here so long.
Jimmy: He’s right. This is taking forever.
He looks at Kyle.
Jimmy: Give us the drugs!
Kyle: Now LOOK!!
They all look at him, surprised at this sudden outburst. He’s becoming a man.
Kyle: I may not have the cleanest raw talent. I may never know the sweet sting of a Shane Victorino shaving cream pie to the face. And I may burst into tears occassionally when they put Letters to Juliet on in the plane. But the fact of the matter is, I come out here to win a ball game. That may not be enough for you.
He turns and looks directly into the internet.
Kyle: …or YOU…
He turns back.
Kyle: But at least I show up here in the first place! I try to do what I can with what I’ve got. I may not have Jimmy’s swag, or Shane’s persona, or Chase’s–
Chase: (From his position, far away) Don’t fucking talk about me!
Kyle: …or Ryan’s Subway contract, but I’m Kyle Kendrick–my sinker’s okay, I’m still young, and I am DOING MY FREAKING BEST OUT HERE.
His voice cracks as he begins to shout at the end. In the dugout, Charlie Manuel, having heard the shouting, approaches the steps, but Jimmy waves him off.
Kyle: …and its a bunk bed, Jimmy. It saves space and it is easily converted into a forst.
Jimmy: We’re sorry, Kyle.
Ryan: Yeah. You’re doing great tonight, buddy.
They all look at him suspiciously but Rich gives Kyle the ball back and jogs off the field.
Rich: All right, let’s get two!
There are no runners on.
The next hitter smacks a high grounder over Kyle’s head, but he reaches up and spears it out of the sky, throwing the guy out. After the play, Ryan and Jimmy run back to the mound.
Ryan: Give us the drugs, Kyle.
Kyle: I AM TRYING TO PLAY A BASEBALL GAME.
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