Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly had the throw heard around the world earlier this season when he threw behind Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman’s head during the two-game series at Minute Maid Park.
Kelly did not hit Bregman, although after striking out Carlos Correa to end the inning, the two exchanged words and faces, leading to the benches clearing momentarily.
Despite not hitting anyone and only a mild altercation happening, Major League Baseball still suspended Kelly eight games, citing his past actions and the nature of throwing a fastball at a player’s head, as well as taunting Correa after the inning.
Kelly appealed the suspension and it wound up being reduced to five games. Kelly is currently on the 10-day injured list due to shoulder inflammation, so he will have to wait until he’s activated to serve it.
Prior to the suspension being reduced, Kelly appeared on Ross Stripling’s “Big Swing Podcast” and voiced his confusion at receiving such a length suspension:
“Eight games is pretty steep, especially for a wild pitch. It’s kind of funny, because the two pitches I threw is the same two pitches I’ve thrown my whole entire career. I have some pretty good evidence on my side. I had a team put together a nice little mashup of all my accidental pitches. If those accidental pitches were punished, I’d probably be banned from baseball, just like Pete Rose. …
“Went into Houston, did my job, and got eight games for walking a guy. Apparently you can’t walk a guy and apparently you can’t say bad words or make funny faces at an opposing team, because that will cost you too.”
Kelly also did not have kind words for Astros manager Dusty Baker, Correa, commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLB office:
“I should’ve hit somebody with a baseball, then hit somebody with a fist and then make the benches clear. I miss with the ball, I didn’t hit anybody with my fist, I walked away. Major League Baseball is in a world of trouble right now. I think the whole world and everyone knows that, and the world is in trouble. The coronavirus is real. …
“For Major League Baseball to come at me with an eight-game suspension, saying ‘Through these times in the pandemic, you created what we are trying to stay aware from where you enticed a whole team,’ apparently my words or my cute face that I made, enticed the whole team to come out of the dugout toward our dugout, which is complete [expletive]. I socially distanced, I walked away, I didn’t get close. I followed all the guidelines of the CDC, and people on the other side didn’t. They walked out of their dugout, walked toward us, and Carlos Correa [expletive] spit at our team. He spit out of his mouth. …
“I didn’t have an altercation. They had the altercation. I cussed, so did their manager. I walked away, they walked towards me. So where is the altercation there? I want to know. I really want to know what they’re actually thinking. What they’re doing right now, there’s literally no thinking involved.”
While Kelly wasn’t on the Dodgers in 2017 when they were defeated by the Astros in the World Series, he was a member of the Boston Red Sox, who also lost to Houston in the postseason that year.
It seems that players all across the league share Kelly’s sentiment as many had words for Houston players during Spring Training when they failed to show proper remorse for their actions.
Astros brawl with Athletics
The altercation with the Dodgers isn’t the only one the Astros have gotten into this season as they also got into it with the Oakland Athletics this past weekend.
Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano charged at Houston’s dugout after being hit three times in the series and then exchanging words with Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron. He wound up being suspended six games for his actions, while Cintron was given 20 games.
The season isn’t even a month old and two teams have already taken issue with the Astros, so there likely will be more in the future as it’s clear how players feel about that team.
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