Joe Kelly blasts ‘snitching’ Astros players for sign-stealing fallout

In his first interview since getting suspended eight games for a July 28 incident with the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly said that his animosity toward the Astros stems more from how they handled the sign-stealing investigation than the actual cheating itself.

Speaking on “The Big Swing,” a podcast hosted by his Dodgers teammate Ross Stripling, Kelly explained that he felt like the Astros players — who were given immunity in exchange for cooperation with the investigation — allowed higher-ups like manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow to take the fall for their wrongdoing. Both Hinch and Luhnow were fired.

“The people who took the fall for what happened is nonsense,” Kelly said in an interview taped before his appealed suspension was reduced to five games. “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—h, 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 ass, that’s what I don’t like,” Kelly added. “Cheating? They cheated. Everyone knows they’re cheaters. They know they’re cheaters. It’s over. That’s done with. 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.”

Kelly, 32, threw a ball near the head of Astros third basemen Alex Bregman, then taunted shortstop Carlos Correa during the Dodgers’ 5-2 win in Houston. The incident caused a bench-clearing brawl, but Kelly successfully appealed for a reduced suspension.

Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly and Astros infielder Carlos Correa arguing on July 28.Getty Images

Kelly mentioned how fond he is of Alex Cora, who was let go from his job as manager of the Red Sox for his involvement in sign-stealing as the Astros’ bench coach in 2017. Kelly played for Cora on the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox.

“Maybe they have called AC (Cora) and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ Or called Luhnow and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ Or called Hinch, and (Carlos) Beltran,” Kelly said. “… If they had said, ‘Hey, I’m super scared, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to lose money, I had to rat.’ … Grow a pair of balls and say that.”

Kelly said he thought his initial suspension of eight games was “crazy,” considering all that went on on the field. He also mentioned that he didn’t want to talk to Astros players, “because they’re not respectable men.”

Apparently, the league’s reasoning was that he incited the Astros out of their dugout with his actions and gesture. Kelly said it was “completely bulls–t.”

“I socially distanced. I walked away,” he said. “I didn’t get close, and I followed all the guidelines of the CDC, and people on the other side (the Astros) didn’t. … 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.”

As for Kelly’s infamous “boo-hoo face” that he made at Correa after striking him out, Kelly told Stripling that when he complains to his wife, Ashley Parks, she’ll make that face at him.

“When Carlos was tripping back at me,” he said, “the boo-hoo face felt right, because it just sounded like he was complaining. I was like, ‘Ohhhh, boo-hoo.’ For me, it sounded like a bunch of whining, and I know exactly what my wife feels like.”

“It just felt right in the moment. It was spur of the moment; it’s not like you game-plan for that kind of thing. … It was my interpretation of him acting like a child at that point, and I wanted to give him a little child’s face.”