Joe Kelly, always the fiery personality, managed to get his suspension reduced by MLB for his role in the bench-clearing incident between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros a few weeks back. Before that happened, however, he went on teammate Ross Stripling's podcast to explain precisely why he was still quite upset about the whole incident.
In the latest episode of The Big Swing podcast released today, Kelly had a lot to say. He took the league to task over their inconsistent rules and regulations, complaining that MLB is so strict with their players but don't require flight attendants on team planes to get tested. Which seems, um, not great.
Then he got into the Astros. Here's his account of what happened on the field against Houston that has him so worked up:
"For Major League Baseball to come at me with an eight-game suspension saying that, 'Through these times in the pandemic you created what we're trying to stay away from', where you enticed a whole team, apparently my words again, or my cute face that I made, enticed a whole team to come out of their dugout towards our dugout. Which is complete bullshit. 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 towards us. I mean, Carlos Correa f--king spit at our team. I don't know if it was [at] me. He spit out of his mouth!... But this guy walks over to our dugout, spits, doesn't follow the rules, and then I get eight games. "
But Kelly wasn't done. He proceeded to hammer the Astros' players for flipping on the coaching staff when MLB offered them immunity in exchange for providing details on the cheating scandal. Kelly acknowledged the staff was involved, but is upset their livelihood was taken while the players got away scot-free because they were willing to tell on their bosses. Kelly revealed he's very passionate about this because the players can afford to lose money and have their reputations tainted, but people like Kelly's former manager, Alex Cora, cannot. Cora apparently had to pull his daughter out of school because of the verbal abuse she was receiving after the scandal and Cora went back to his home country of Puerto Rico.
Kelly went in on the players further. He said it just doesn't sit right with him that they threw someone else under the bus to save their own skins, especially with how insincere they went about everything:
"Pretty much, when you have a fall guy or multiple fall guys and you're a player, it just really freaking bugs me... Until they, I don't know. Maybe they have called [Alex Cora] and said 'Hey, I'm sorry.' Called [Jeff] Lunhow or called [AJ] Hinch or called [Carlos] Beltran. Maybe they have said sorry to these guys... I don't know if it has [happened] because I don't talk to [the Astros], I don't want to talk to those guys because they're not respectable men to me. What Correa said to [Cody Bellinger], he had all the facts. You don't tell my teammate to shut the f-ck up and then spit at us in a pandemic. That ain't right. That ain't right! He's not looking out for the healthy of anybody doing that. He'd get his own teammates sick doing that if he had the corona. "
After that, Kelly said people pointing out other cheating scandals to compare to the Astros' situation is wrong to him because they aren't nearly the same thing. The Astros went above and beyond, while Kelly believes any team in MLB could be named as a cheater if that's what the Red Sox, Yankees, or Dodgers did. Kelly also didn't think it mattered. He finished off with a strong quote that neatly surmises his feelings about the Astros.
"For those who were saying, 'Oh, you were on a cheating team too,' it's not about that. It's about being a respectable human being and not lying to save your own ass. That's what it's about. "
Well, then. Kelly has some strong thoughts on the matter, and it wouldn't be surprising if they were shared with others who were close to the individuals involved in the scandal. Nobody has to guess what Kelly thinks now, at least.