In the world of junior high intramural basketball, they judge you on two things: Can you make baskets? If not, are you freakishly tall? If you are one of those two things, congratulations, you made the all-star team. As an orangutan in rec specs, I was my team’s natural leader. A head taller than any player in the league, I snared rebounds with truly unfair wingspan. My coach told me if my elbows were ever below my shoulders, I wasn’t doing my job.
Then Spike Burlock joined the team, and not only was he tall, he could get the ball in the net. He brought our team to life in ways that my athletic ability tried to murder it.
“Spike Burlock?!” you’re asking. ”Isn’t that the kid with the biggest muscles from seventh grade?” Or maybe you’re saying “‘Spike Burlock?!’ That sounds like a name somebody just made up!”
The point is, he was better than me. In every conceivable way. And while Spike grabbed our team by the hair and dragged us into the playoffs, I was never again treated with the dignity and respect that stupidly disproportionate teenagers always are.
When Cliff Lee showed up on the Phillies again, Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley had to be aware of certain things. For instance, they were both not as good as Joe Blanton. Therefore, they would not be starting for the Phillies in 2011, barring a trade of some kind.
Today, they were hatched from their Matrix-esque eggs and brought back into real life, after about 36 hours of the only people on earth being the Phillies starting rotation. How did they feel when Cliff Lee was acquired and Spike Burlocked out of the picture? Emotions seem to have ranged from “happy” to “excited.” But now, with no open spot to scramble over in Spring Training, both of these young arms are looking at long relief or spot start duty.
I know what you’re thinking. Did Spike Burlock lead us to the promised land, as many hope the addition of Cliff Lee–and deletion of Kyle Kendrick–will? Ha, ha, ha. That’s a story for another time.
No. He was arrested for stealing a school van and moved onto his fourth school in two years.