Don't Cheer Joe Kelly for Being a Coward

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Baseball actually got it right for suspending Joe Kelly for eight games.
Baseball actually got it right for suspending Joe Kelly for eight games.
Image: Getty

It’s a staple of some true heel work to do all the talking and then run behind their allies when confronted. Apparently MLB won’t stand for that.

The Dodgers’ Joe Kelly was suspended eight games by MLB Wednesday for instigating a benches-clearing...discussion? Staff meeting? Unenthusiastic line dance? It’s hard to know. Anyway, after his taunting and jawing with the Astros’ Carlos Correa, the Astros and Dodgers exited their dugouts and that’s something MLB has said it will not stand for this season due to COVID-19. For once, the league has actually stood by its words, as it doesn’t want anything upping the chances of the virus being spread. Except if you already play with a guy or guys who have it and want to play anyway and have discussed it by text. Or you play in Florida to begin with. Or spit. Or high-five.

Anyway, while Kelly was being cheered by some in the baseball sphere Tuesday night, this definitely was performative to the hilt. One, Kelly wasn’t on the Dodgers team that got beat by the Astros’ cheating scheme. He doesn’t really have a stake in this. Two, he was on the Red Sox one that also got dinged for cheating the following season when they won the World Series. Three, throwing a baseball at someone’s head, no matter the context and what Kelly did to Alex Bregman a few hitters before Correa, is unquestionably chickenshit. Four, Kelly has always been an attention-moth and that’s assuredly what this was for. Notice how his pace back toward the dugout picks up once Correa and the Astros voice their displeasure.


Eight games in this season is equivalent to 21, so it’s a very heavy suspension. Not that the Dodgers will miss Kelly and his 1.40 career WHIP and barely replacement-level performance. It at least puts some weight behind MLB’s aversion to the benches clearing.

As for the Astros, already people are complaining about Kelly getting a bigger suspension than any player did for the Astros scandal. Which forgets A) three managers lost jobs and so did a GM, and B) the Astros players got immunity for admitting and explaining what their cheating entailed. What people are upset about is usually immunity in testifying against someone, which the Astros didn’t really do and MLB didn’t really ask for. Unless Alex Cora, Carlos Beltran, A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Lunhow count.

The Astros getting drilled in the ribs with baseballs was expected this year, and already happened in spring training. What hitting them now, in a condensed season, accomplishes is a mystery. They’re not getting stripped of their World Series, they’re not giving the rings back, and if teams and opponents are so convinced that their cheating was the only reason they won a World Series and appeared in another, it would seem beating their ass into the ground when they don’t have that unseemly advantage would be the best recourse.


But logic never got in the way of proper baseball thinking.