The Los Angeles Dodgers reliever unleashed on the Houston Astros in a podcast.
Entering the 2020 season, you absolutely knew there’d be bad blood between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros were proven guilty of illegally stealing signs throughout the 2017 season, which helped the team defeat the Dodgers in that year’s World Series. The thing is, the players received immunity by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for them to cooperate in the league’s investigation.
Last month, Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly sparked a benches-clearing incident with the Astros after throwing towards third baseman Alex Bregman and taunted shortstop Carlos Correa, resulting in the league handing him an eight-game suspension, now five-games after an appeal.
Kelly happened to appear on “The Big Swing” podcast with teammate Ross Stripling earlier this month, which was released on Thursday. During said interview, Kelly unloaded on the Astros, where he said they are “not respectable men” to him for deflecting the blame onto AJ Hinch, Alex Cora, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Luhnow.
“When you take someone’s livelihood … to save your own ass, that’s what I don’t like,” Kelly said, via ESPN. “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.”
Kelly wasn’t done bashing the Astros organization
Cora served as Kelly’s manager for the 2018-19 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, whom the pitcher called a “respectable man.” Seeing him receive a one-year suspension and lose his job in Boston really angered the pitcher.
Kelly was adamant in his belief that he doesn’t believe that Houston’s system of using cameras from center field of Minute Maid Park to steal pitching signals to then relay those signs by banging a trashcan from the clubhouse was a coach-led scheme. The players went through with it, and as many critics have said, didn’t even receive a slap on the wrist.
“Maybe they have called [Cora] and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ Or called Luhnow and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ Or called Hinch, and Beltran. … If they had said, ‘Hey, I’m super-scared, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to lose money, I had to rat.’ … Grow a pair of balls and say that,” said Kelly.
Kelly also brought up the incident that took place in Houston on July 28. He was confused as to why he received an eight-game ban, even though he never hit Bregman and didn’t even receive a warning from home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. The reliever said he walked towards Los Angeles’ dugout because he was following the CDC guidelines to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. Kelly revealed that Correa spit towards the Dodgers and that Astros manager Dusty Baker cursed at him to get on the mound, yet they didn’t receive a punishment.
Those facts didn’t sit well with Kelly. But if there’s a bright side, it’s that his suspension was reduced.
The two teams won’t meet for again for this season, but you best believe that this hatred will carry over in 2021 and beyond. This is the expected fallout that Manfred should’ve expected, especially considering the players who cheated to win the World Series got to keep their championship rings. Kelly certainly garnered more fans for his venomous comments towards the Astros.