To Bean Or Not To Bean
On Tuesday, July 28 The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros faced off for the first time since the Astros 2017 World series cheating scandal came to light. The team they beat in 2017 while stealing signs from the catcher? The Los Angeles Dodgers. So naturally, some Dodgers players still hold some anger towards the Astros for the outcome of the 2017 World Series.
That anger boiled over in the 6th inning when Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly, who was down 3-0 in the count to Alex Bregman threw a 96 mph fastball at the Astros third basemen, narrowly missing his head for ball four. Later in the inning, Kelly threw an 86 mph breaking ball high and inside towards the head of Astros Shortstop Carlos Correa before ultimately striking him out to end the inning and then taunting him with a “nice swing, bitch” while walking back to the dugout, causing the benches to clear.
The next day an 8 game suspension was brought down on Joe Kelly by the league sparking debates around the league among fans about whether or not that was too harsh of a punishment. Eight games in this year’s 60-game shortened season are equivalent to about 21 games in a regular year. And seeing as how no Astros players were suspended for their involvement in the sign-stealing that led to their 2017 World Series title, the argument that it was too harsh is valid.
Joe Kelly mocking Carlos Correa after striking him out (Photo Credit: CBS Sports)
Baseball is a strange sport. Rife with nostalgia and integrity, no other professional sports league has the same level of passion for keeping the game as it always has been and following the unwritten code of the sport as baseball does. But at the same time baseball players throughout history have benefited from cheating more than the athletes of any other team sport.
Once sports heroes are now looked down upon by fans and fellow players alike after the news of their cheating came to life. Case in point, the all-time MLB home run leader, Barry Bonds, has yet to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame eight years after first being eligible because of his use of performance-enhancing drugs. If he is left off the ballot for two more years he will never have a chance to make the Hall again - and I personally hope he never gets in.
So when the question gets brought up, was Joe Kelly’s suspension too harsh? My answer is “probably not.” He has a history of throwing at players already so that is enough for a fairly lengthy suspension itself.
But, Do the Astros players deserve it? Yes. And do I hope more pitchers risk the suspension to let these guys know what they did was not acceptable? Abso-fucking-lutely.
If you want you can browse through TSN or ESPN where they will give you the PC answer of nothing is worth the potential injuries this kind of action can cause.
But for a sport that is built around the deep-seated respect for the game and the unwritten rules, these players deserved far worse than a couple of fastballs in their direction. A quick look at history can show just how unforgiving baseball can be when you sacrifice the integrity of the game.
In 1919, eight players on the Chicago White Sox were banned from the league forever for throwing the world series. One of those suspended players was all-time great Joseph Jefferson Jackson aka Shoeless Joe Jackson, despite there being no evidence he was involved in the game-fixing and Jackson leading both teams in multiple statistical categories.
And again in 1989, the MLB’s leader in hits and games played and manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Pete Rose, was permanently banned from the game of baseball for allegedly betting on his own team to win.
As far as I am concerned there is no room in baseball for any of these Astros players who were involved in the sign stealing and they should also be banned for life. However, they were given immunity by the MLB for their cooperation in the investigation so that won’t happen.
At the very least, the players that were involved should have been suspended for a year just like manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow. And they should have their World series championship stripped.
But until that happens, let it fucking fly pitchers.
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