A highly anticipated game that unexpectedly was played without fans in attendance due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still did not disappoint on this day in Los Angeles Dodgers history, when Joe Kelly memorably traded barbs with Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros.
On July 28, 2020, the Dodgers returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the 2017 World Series. The Astros defeated the Dodgers to win the Fall Classic that year, but their championship had since been tainted by a cheating scandal.
Astros players showed little remorse for electronically stealing signs, which further angered some in the Dodgers clubhouse. The first meeting of a two-game series nevertheless was being played without issue, until Joe Kelly pitched in the sixth inning.
After sailing a pitch over Alex Bregman’s head and backing up Yuli Gurriel with a breaking ball, Kelly struck out Carlos Correa to complete a scoreless frame. The two exchanged glares, shouted in each other’s direction, and Kelly made a pouty face at Correa.
That prompted benches to clear but tempers cooled and there weren’t any ejectoins. Kelly denied afterward that he intentionally tried to hit any of the Astros’ batters, but MLB felt otherwise.
He was initially suspended eight games, but had it reduced to five after appealing the decision.
When reflecting on the incident that offseason, Kelly explained the face was one his wife Ashley mocks him with.
“Sometimes I complain a little bit too much. If I get a cold, if I have a headache, I’m very vocal. I don’t take it as I’m dying, but I just say that very loud,” Kelly said during an appearance on the “Big Swing Podcast.”
“So she’ll give me a ‘boo hoo’ face like ‘Oh you’re so sick. You need help. Want me to make you soup? It’s so tough for you.’ When Carlos is chirping back at me, the ‘boo hoo face’ felt right because it just sounded like he was complaining, so I was like, ‘Ah boo hoo.’
“For me it sounded like a bunch of whining, so now I know exactly what my wife feels like. So I’m going to stop whining because I didn’t like the whining and now I know she doesn’t like the whining.”
Joe Kelly returns to Dodgers in trade
Exactly three years to the day of Kelly’s exchange with Correa, he was traded back to the Dodgers from the Chicago White Sox.
In addition to Kelly, the Dodgers acquired Lance Lynn in exchange for Nick Nastrini, Jordan Leasure and Trayce Thompson.
Kelly visits pouty face mural at Floyd’s Barbershop in L.A.
Kelly’s pouty face became a hit with Dodgers fans, prompting Jonas Never to capture the expression in a mural on the side of Floyd’s Barbershop in Silverlake.
Kelly, along with his wife and children, posed for a photo next to the mural in September of the 2020 season.
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