If Kyle Kendrick has ever seen the internet, than he is probably a little sensitive to being picked on. Sure, everything’s game online, because we can say whatever we want from behind this cyber-curtain of anonymity. It turns us all into highly profane masked bandits. Ha ha ha!!! My words are untraceable! You’ll never find me, enemies!!
However, being picked on in real life is far more personal. That means someone feels so strongly about hating you that they are willing to risk embarrassment and/or reprimand to say it to your face via vicious barbs.
For Kyle, that someone was Rich Dubee. At least, Kyle thought so. Again, he may have read enough about our perception of him online to have developed an inferiority complex. Which we can do, because we are completely unaccountable. Kyle, on the other hand, took what Dubee was saying in real life as personal insults, not encouragement laced with poison. With Dubee, though, it’s somewhat understandable.
“[Kendrick] got to the big leagues so quick he thought that good was good enough. For a while, there was complacency. Then one day last summer we got in a knock-down, drag-out. He thought I was picking on him. I told him I wasn’t picking on him, I was doing it because I wanted to see him have the best success he could possibly have.”
“At the time I thought [Dubee] didn’t like me, didn’t think I was a good pitcher. But sometimes that tough love is what you need.”
It is far too easy to blame Kyle for this one. I cannot imagine being harassed by Rich Dubee every day at work, even if it was with good intentions. Sitting down in a cubicle or fetching someone’s espresso would be a far more degrading task if Rich Dubee was there to shake his head disapprovingly or flat out tell you that you were a waste of a perfectly good birth canal. And he should know, having banged your mother as many times as he did.
It is a great sign of maturity that Kyle was able to get past Dubee’s digs and become the $7.5 millionaire he is today. The age-old technique of ruining someone psychologically until they perform in the way that you command has worked for everyone, from the Phillies’ pitching coach to a large number of serial killers. Why, I remember when my Little League coach told me during an away game that if I didn’t at least make contact with the ball, they’d leave me behind and tell my parents I had been dragged off by wolves.
“They’d probably prefer hearing that to your slash line,” he said.
And I’ll be damned if I didn’t foul tip a 30-mph fastball into the catcher’s mitt during my third at-bat that very night. Sure, I was in tears, and the bat flew out of my hands every time I swung, and the umpire and catcher kept muttering to each other and laughing while pointing at me. But you know what? I slept in my own bed that night, far from any wolves.
So perhaps Dubee, upon insertion of clever insults, can make anyone a success. The pitching coach may have a career as a counselor upon retirement from baseball, as long as patients are okay with being broken down to their very core and shattered emotionally.