Kelly, who has spotty control to begin with, whizzed a fastball behind the back of Alex Bregman, who appeared to get a brief glimpse of the afterlife while he was getting out of the way of it. He then got Michael Brantley to ground into a fielder’s choice, walked Yuli Gurriel, and finally struck out Carlos Correa to end the inning (but not before throwing a slider up and in).
Mr. Kelly had something to say to Correa after leaving the mound, namely taunting him for getting fooled by his last slider. Correa, one of the villains in the infamous Astros cheating scandal, chirped back at him for a little. Kelly made some faces, the benches and bullpens cleared in case of a good ol’ fashion donnybrook between the two players, and then the game continued. No one was hurt, no one was ejected. Jomboy was all over it, as usual.
Then Joe Kelly got suspended for eight of the 60 regular season games.
Why did this happen?
This happened because Commissioner Manfred decided to make an example out of someone; the wrong someone. He decided that suspending someone for 13% of the season because he threw a ball near one persona non grata and said some bad words to another persona non grata was appropriate, even when the players he was facing cheated the game on the biggest stage. They faced no repercussions for their actions because there was no precedent for this type of scandal.
It’s a classic two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right situation, with Manfred trying to overcorrect after his previous gaffes. The problem is, those overcorrections serve to defend the players he should have punished in the first place, which is, uh, ridiculous.
Be better, Rob
Joe Kelly’s suspension is ludicrous. Commissioner Manfred has to understand the optics of this situation. His status as the worst commissioner in sports is as cemented as it’s ever been. The vast majority of fans and people in baseball were not satisfied with his handling of the Astros cheating scandal. Their main issue was the lack of player suspensions and the idiotic reasons behind this inaction. My man, you’re really gonna slap a significant suspension on a dude that threw one fastball near a player, then said some bad words and made some faces?
Does Commissioner Manfred harbor some sort of preference for the Astros? I highly doubt it. But he has to understand that he is inviting these types of accusations. Preferential treatment, hypocrisy, all the stuff that people hate commissioners for. Suspending Joe Kelly for eight of the 60 MLB games, when the Astros players got off scot-free for one of the biggest scandals in the history of the sport? How are we supposed to interpret that?!?!
Joe Kelly should not have been suspended. Fine him, whatever. But his actions certainly did not warrant such a significant punishment.