Was it immature or at least dangerous for Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly to throw a mid-90s fastball near the head of the Astros Alex Bregman?
Sure. Of course.
Was it justified for him to do it, and to buzz Carlos Correa as well?
Yes, even more so.
Such was the predicament created by Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred — it hasn’t been his day, his week, his month or even his year — with their absurdly toothless penalties after the Astros were found to have cheated their way to the 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.
No Houston players were suspended for their roles in the sign-stealing scandal — and no, the damage to their reputations is not close to enough punishment.
And so Kelly made sure we didn’t forget, in a season delayed and with many other things rightfully occupying our brain space, that the Astros cheated and didn’t pay.
He did it in a crude way. He did it even though he likely knew that there would be consequences for him, even though there weren’t any for Astros players — an other layer of absurdity and unfairness.
Maybe Kelly didn’t know he would be suspended eight games. That’s the equivalent of about 22 games, percentage-wise, if this was a normal 162-game season and not a 60-game (fingers crossed) year. But then again, MLB isn’t great at the punishment fitting the crime so perhaps Kelly and the rest of us shouldn’t be shocked.
But Kelly took one for the team — or, more aptly, for all 29 teams not named the Astros. He reminded us that the integrity of the game still matters, that we shouldn’t forget what Houston did even in this absurd 2020 season.
I’m glad nobody got hurt. I’m glad Kelly did what he did. I’m glad he openly taunted Houston players after the inning was over.
He didn’t even the score. If anything, his suspension while the Astros still walk free made the tally even more lopsided.
But at least he did a thing Manfred didn’t have the guts to do: Show Astros players there are consequences for their actions.