"There's a lot of people who like to tell jokes. There's a lot of people who like to, you know, play jokes on people. Things like that. That's always been a part of the game." - Charlie Manuel
As far as baseball pranks go, we've come a long way from the hot foot, pies to the face, and shaving cream in the shoes. The prank has ascended to a new level thanks to the shenanigans orchestrated by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers on Feb. 16, 2008.
With the help of Phils manager Charlie Manuel, Assistant GM Ruben Amaro, traveling secretary Mike Copenbarger, even the staff of TV affiliate Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia, Myers was able to convince young pitcher Kyle Kendrick that he was traded to the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League.
The prank started in Charlie Manuel's office. Manuel was wearing a microphone for the day, under the ruse of Comcast Sportsnet featuring the skipper in their "Day In the Life" segment. With Amaro at his side, he explained to Kendrick that he was part of a trade with the Japanese team. Kyle sat dumbfounded as Manuel and Amaro went over his travel itinerary with him, even produced documents for him to sign before heading back out into the clubhouse to pack.
The first person to greet Kendrick as he left the manager's office was Myers, who of course offered his regret over the trade and offered him best wishes, all the while trying not to laugh.
Comcast Sportsnet continued to catch up with the victim throughout the day as various people approached him, asking about the trade, saying goodbye, and things of that nature. Ruben got back into the action during the afternoon, when he gathered reporters to inform them that Kendrick had been officially traded to the Yomiuri Giants in exchange for Kobayashi Iwamura (a made up name, combining the names of competitive eating champ Kobayashi, and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Akinori Iwamura).
The cameras and mics were then pointed at a completely flabbergasted Kendrick. All he could say was "is there good food in Japan"? It was at this point that Brett Myers stepped in and informed him that it was all a joke. The entire locker room broke into hysterics.
Afterwards, Kendrick told Comcast Sportsnet that he was "so happy to be staying in Philadelphia" When asked he was going to get Myers back, he said "I don't know. I don't think there's anything I can do to top that."
The thing that struck me most was how many people Myers involved. To get the all the players, staff, even the media to ride this out for an entire day and all be on the same page is truly a feat.
With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training just a few days from now, I personally cannot wait to see what they think of next.