clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kyle Kendrick still has a lot of feelings about that 2008 prank

Kyle Kendrick decided to spill his guts about that famous/infamous 2008 prank that made him think he had been traded to Japan.

Colorado Rockies v Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Kendrick pitching in 2008, presumably thinking about the most amazing prank of all time.
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The time that Brett Myers and the Phillies front office pranked Kyle Kendrick is the greatest prank in the history of the Phillies franchise. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that. They convinced Kyle Kendrick that he had been traded to Japan, and the whole thing turned into a legend.

Let’s revisit it, shall we?

Kyle is with the Red Sox now and decided to sit down with Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald to talk about that prank and how much he loves it.

If there was a magic button to push that would permanently erase all copies of the 9-year-old clip that comes up when you search for “Kyle Kendrick prank” on YouTube, Kendrick would have punched it — with both fists — a long time ago.

Oh, so he doesn’t love it. And he really doesn’t love that video of the prank that has brought millions of people joy and glee. I guess he probably wouldn’t want me to open the post with that video either. OH WELL TOO LATE NOW MUST PUSH FORWARD.

Victim of an elaborate and rather cruel prank pulled off by the Phillies front office, their manager, his own agent, the team’s traveling secretary, plus teammates and members of the media, Kendrick’s 23-year-old world was flipped upside down for a queasy few minutes at spring training in Clearwater, Fla., in 2008.

Okay, that goes pretty deep. The entire front office, Charlie Manuel, the team’s traveling secretary, a bunch of his bros, AND his agent!? HIS AGENT?! Wow. Imagine how badly they all wanted to dunk on Kendrick if it was so easy to get them involved. I’m kidding. I’m sure his personality had nothing to do with it, they just couldn’t turn down a chance to pull off such an epic prank.

The day of the prank, Kendrick was pulled into Amaro’s office and given the news. He was being traded to the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.

He was handed a copy of his $1.5 million contract.

He was handed a copy of his itinerary.

He was told to start packing his bags and get ready for an early wake-up call — he needed to be at the airport two hours before his 7:05 a.m. flight to Japan the very next morning.

He stood in front of his locker surrounded by a half-circle of in-on-the-joke baseball reporters, most of them doing a poor job of hiding their smiles, as Amaro announced the trade.

Brett Myers broke in while Amaro was “announcing” the “trade” and told Kendrick he’d been punked. That is hard core. The whole thing. They had to dummy up a contract and an itinerary and do a whole thing in front of the media. That takes commitment. If Myers hadn’t broken in to tell Kyle he wasn’t going anywhere, he might actually be in Japan right now.

So not that shockingly, that prank kind of stayed with Kyle for awhile. Not least of all because his agent was in on it. The whole prank happened quickly, but between when Kyle was told he was traded and the media scrum, he called his agent. And his agent played along, telling him that moving to Japan would be better for him the long run. And how long did that guy stay Kyle’s agent after this prank?

“I fired him that year, and that was part of it — I was upset about it, because after that I went and talked to the media,” Kendrick said. “So if he had told me, ‘No it was just a prank,’ I would never have talked to the media. Or, I would have turned it around and I would have flipped it on them.”

So he didn’t stay Kyle’s agent that long! How (not) surprising!

Now that Kyle is on the Red Sox, he’s in close contact with current goatee-haver and Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. Uh oh! This could make for some awkward moments in the dugout! Or wherever Kendrick might encounter Amaro!

Kendrick and Amaro, who later became the GM of the Phillies, never spoke about the prank until this spring.

Amaro apologized for his role in the ruse. “One of the first days in camp, we sat down, and he said, ‘That was messed up, I apologize,’ ” said Kendrick. “It was the first time he ever said anything to me about it. Nothing as a GM. Maybe he has a different perspective on it as a coach now.”

Amaro did sound regretful about playing his part. He said he had to step into it when his boss, Pat Gillick, bailed out for some meeting. The plot, said Amaro, was hatched by some “salty veterans” who “wanted to mess with one of the young kids.”

I love that Amaro’s apology also includes a “it wasn’t my idea I was just there at the end I had nothing to do with it” caveat. He’s apologizing, but not without making sure Kyle knows that he wasn’t really at fault. Because isn’t abdicating responsibility what an apology is all about?

To put a button on this whole thing, Brett Myers made his feelings about the incident known on Twitter.

Listen, I feel for Kyle here. He was on the receiving end of a deep, deep prank, and it probably didn’t make him feel very good. But holy god was it ever entertaining for everybody else. It’s been almost ten years and we’re still talking about it. It’s been almost ten years and people outside of the Phillies organization still remember it! It’s still making news today!

This prank is a gift from the prank gods. Thank you, Kyle, for this glorious prank. I’d tell you to move on from it now that you’ve gotten all this off your chest, but I’d feel like a hypocrite. Because I’m never moving on. This prank will be part of my baseball love and fandom for the rest of my life.