Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly didn’t hold back when discussing his thoughts on how the Houston Astros handled Major League Baseball’s investigation into their sign-stealing scheme, calling them "rats" and "snitches" in a podcast released Thursday.
Kelly, who was suspended eight games (reduced to five on appeal) for throwing pitches behind the heads of Astros infielders Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, joined teammate Ross Stripling’s podcast The Big Swing. He explained that his issue with the Astros lies with how they avoided punishment after the scandal and not necessarily the cheating itself.
"The people who took the fall for what happened is nonsense," Kelly said. "Yes, everyone is involved. But the way that [sign-stealing system] was run over there was not from coaching staff...They're not the head boss in charge of that thing. It's the players. So now the players get the immunity, and all they do is go snitch like a little b----, and they don't have to get fined, they don't have to lose games.
"When you take someone's livelihood...to save your own a--, that's what I don't like…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."
Last offseason, the Astros were found to have carried out a sign-stealing scheme during their 2017 championship season, using hidden cameras at their home stadium and a trash can to relay opposing catchers’ signs to their hitters in real time. The organization was fined the maximum $5 million and stripped of multiple top draft picks. Manager A.J. Hinch, GM Jeff Luhnow, former bench coach Alex Cora and former player Carlos Beltran were all suspended for the 2020 season and lost their jobs. No players were fined or suspended as a result of the investigation.
Kelly played under Cora as a member of the Boston Red Sox in 2018. He wasn’t on the Dodgers team that lost to the Astros in the 2017 World Series but didn’t shy away from making his feelings about them known when he faced them July 28. After sailing fastballs by the heads of Bregman and Correa, Kelly mocked Correa on his way back to the dugout and both benches cleared.
Though the podcast was recorded before Kelly’s suspension was reduced, he didn’t feel that he deserved a suspension at all.
“I socially distanced. I walked away. I didn't get close, and I followed all the guidelines of the CDC, and people on the other side didn't,” Kelly said. “They walked out of their dugout, walked toward us. Carlos Correa f---ing spit at our team. I don't know if it was [at] me. He spit out of his mouth...This guy walks over to our dugout and then spits, while I follow all the rules, and I get eight games.
“They have a manager [Dusty Baker] on their side, verbatim, yelling at me, ‘Get your little skinny ass on the mound.’ So my cuss words get eight games, and his cuss words get zero? That makes complete sense, right? Welcome to planet Earth. A debacle.”
The Astros faced heavy scrutiny early in spring training but were spared such treatment from fans when MLB decided to proceed with the 2020 season without opening stadium doors. Kelly was placed on the 10-Day Injured List and will serve his suspension upon his return.
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