Los Angeles Dodgers’ reliever Joe Kelly finally got to have his say on the Astros and his suspension, and it was well worth the wait.
It’s been nearly two weeks since Joe Kelly was handed a ridiculously long suspension for throwing at and taunting Houston Astros hitters. However, now that his appeal has been heard, the Dodgers’ reliever has opened up about the situation for the first time.
Kelly had his appeal heard on Monday and as expected, Major League Baseball reduced the length from eight games to five games. While still a travesty considering he didn’t hit a single batter, was never warned by the umpire, and at worst taunted the opponent, at least the league saw reason and reduced it accordingly.
But that didn’t stop Joe Kelly from speaking his mind now that he was free to do so.
Kelly was smart to wait until after his appeal to make his first public comments on the situation. Appearing on Ross Stripling’s podcast, The Big Swing, Kelly didn’t hold back on how he felt about the Astros or the hypocrisy of the punishment.
Speaking with Stripling on Wednesday, Kelly was quick to point out his issues with the Astros stemmed not from the cheating itself, but that the players seemingly took no responsibility themselves, received no punishment for their actions, and let the coaches and management take the fall for their actions.
Warning, these quotes may be deemed NSFW.
"“When you take someone’s livelihood … to save your own ass, that’s what I don’t like,” Kelly said. “Cheating? They cheated. Everyone knows they’re cheaters. They know they’re cheaters. It’s over. That’s been there, done that. But now they mess it up by ruining other people’s lives, so they f—ed it up twice. … When you taint someone’s name to save your own name, this is one of the worst things that you could probably do. … That really friggin’ bugs me. I think I’ll be irritated forever.” – (h/t ESPN)"
It’s easy to see why Kelly held his opinion until after the appeal. Projecting his feelings on the situation would not have helped his case in regard to whether or not he threw at Bregman with intention.
Kelly was also quick to point out that the league’s choice to impose an eight-game ban on his for throwing behind Bregman and then taunting Correa. In his defense, he noted that Astros’ manager Dusty Baker’s taunting from the dugout received no fine or suspension, even if it could be construed as elevating an already tense situation.
"“They have a manager [Dusty Baker] on their side, verbatim, yelling at me, ‘Get your little skinny ass on the mound.’ So my cuss words get eight games, and his cuss words get zero? That makes complete sense, right? Welcome to planet earth. A debacle.”"
Actually, what Baker yelled at him was “just get on the mound motherf@$ker!”, but you get the gist of Kelly’s argument. Here we have a player punished for taunting a fellow player over striking him out and receiving a suspension. On the other hand, you have a manager, that should conduct himself much more professionally, getting nothing for raising the heat before that at-bat against Correa. It’s not hard to draw the line between Baker’s actions in that situation and the actions of Alex Cintron in the Ramon Laureano brawl this past weekend. Cintron got a 20-game vacation for his choices, Baker still gets to sit in the dugout and munch on his toothpick.
Regardless of his feelings on the matter, very little is likely to change between these two teams. That animosity will remain until the Dodgers and Astros meet again in a two-game set on September 12th and 13th, especially with potential playoff spots on the line at that point in the season.
For his part, Joe Kelly is currently on the injured list, out with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Once he is reinstated from the IL, he’ll then have to serve his five-game suspension.
However, you can bet that Joe Kelly will damn-well make sure he is healthy and ready to go for that Dodgers-Houston battle in September.