Is the Joe Kelly Fight Club Back?! Recap and Residual Thoughts on the Astros-Dodgers Scuffle

Dodgers and Astros Beefing

Baseball twitter was abuzz last night, with the Astros vs Dodgers game getting a bit testy. The history between these teams is apparent, with the Astros winning the 2017 World Series over the Dodgers while cheating via trash-can. Clearly the Dodgers don’t think Rob Manfred did enough to punish Houston, so they felt the need to take matters into their own hands. The tension was rising throughout this game, but escalated to something more when former Red Sox flamethrower Joe Kelly took the mound. Kelly has quite the reputation of being a hot-head and someone who seems ready to fight at any given time. After all, there is a ‘Joe Kelly Fight Club’ for a reason. Last night was no different, despite Kelly playing for the Red Sox during the Astros/Dodgers World-Series.

First, here’s a breakdown by Jomboy. Yes, the world-renowned Yankee fan Youtuber who publicly dissected how the Astros trashcan cheating occurred. He’s an excellent lip-reader, and this provides some additional context to the benches clearing moment of posturing last night.

Some minor things to note:

  1. First, I actually respect Kelly for partaking in the rivalry between LA and Houston. Even though he wasn’t there for the 2017 World Series, the majority of his teammates were, and rightfully feel cheated out of a championship. When joining a new team, players should immerse themselves fully into the squad by taking on previous rivalries/grudges.
  2. If Joe Kelly starts selling t-shirts of his new frowny-face meme, this was all just poor theatrics for the sake of some quick clout.
  3. Despite his lack of control, in particular during last night’s game, Kelly clearly made the decision to throw at Bregman while it was 3-0. 3-0 count and his next pitch is a fastball behind his head “by accident”? No chance. I’m not drinking whatever juice is making people naive enough to believe that or all of the others were unintentional.
  4. I need to know which Astros player or coach called out to Kelly and said “just get on the mound little fucker”. Astros fans please over-analyze the voice from that hot mic to figure it out. Some early speculation from Pedro Moura of ‘The Athletic’ is that is was Astros manager Dusty Baker. WILD if true.


Intentionally throwing at someone, ESPECIALLY at their head is SO DUMB.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s really rather simple. A pitcher throwing a ball (potentially upwards of 100 mph) intentionally at an essentially defenseless batter is the most asinine part of baseball’s culture. Here’s a Jeff Passan tweet that I RTed and got flak for supporting:

Joe Kelly didn’t actually want to fight last night.

Not saying he should have wanted to fight, but Kelly had his chance with Correa. According to Astros manager Dusty Baker, Kelly said “Nice swing, b*tch” as he walked to the dugout. Here’s a clip from that part of his post game interview last night.

Had Kelly wanted an outbreak of fisticuffs, he very well could have. The infamous Red Sox-Yankees brawl instigated between Tyler Austin and Kelly is a bit different, given the context, but Kelly is not new to this. Maybe in 2020 he’s opted to turn over a new leaf? Perhaps he’s trying to spread peace, love, and positivity instead of throwing hands? All I know is, if he had wanted to fight and throw hands with Correa and the ‘Stros, he very well could have made it happen.

Side note – this is somewhat unrelated, but I totally forgot about Joe Kelly breaking Hanley Ramirez’s ribs in Game 1 of the 2013 NLCS.

I only mention it because it was seen as intentional by Dodgers’ fans, despite Kelly insisting otherwise. Either way, Hanley and Kelly squashed their beef while reuniting in 2015 as Red Sox teammates.

The Joe Kelly pouty-face meme will have SERIOUS legs on baseball twitter.

Prepare yourself now to see this image over and over whenever there’s an argument between baseball fans. Or just as a general reply to send to Astros fans. You might as well get used to it now, because it’s not going anywhere!


Headhunting is incoherently stupid.

Just can’t hammer this point home enough. Beef all you want with other teams and players. Throwing at someone intentionally is bad enough, considering pitchers fully know there’s a chance of hurting the batter. But to intentionally aim in the area of someone’s head?! That’s just irresponsibly dangerous.

It’s unfathomable how many people defend head-hunting on twitter. It’s likely the same sort of people fighting for the liberty of not wearing a mask if they don’t want to. The sentiment behind each of these baseless arguments remain similar, with a lack of empathy or regard for others. Some people care about the safety and well-being of other humans, and some simply don’t. Purposely throwing a baseball at someone’s head is extremely dangerous. Are other people’s lives at risk if you act in a certain way? If yes, then maybe you shouldn’t do that. It’s that simple. Knowing there’s a risk of hurting the person on the other side of your action should be enough, but apparently it’s not for some people.

This isn’t a fist-fight where two people square up and each have a chance to do harm to one another. That’s totally different. Not even condoning that sort of behavior on a baseball diamond, to be honest. Instead we’re talking about someone on an elevated surface with a lethal weapon for an arm intentionally aiming to inflict pain to someone in a compromised position.

Joe Kelly, and all other pitchers who intentionally throw at opposing batters, need to be better.

I thought we had this conversation last year, when the Pirates-Reds brawls happened. Pittsburgh was rightfully chastised by Cincinnati for continuing to throw at the Reds when they felt showed up by Reds’ home runs.

Here’s another Jomboy breakdown to refresh any fuzzy memories of when Amir Garrett elected to take on the entire Pirates team rather than intentionally bean a Pirate. Talk about principles. I’m not a brawl sort of guy. I’m usually the one defusing situations at bars, not throwing hands and escalating emotions. But that being said, how can you not love the fire of Amir Garrett here? This is the type of dude you’d want to go to war with. Find yourself some friends like Amir Garrett.

If you disagree and genuinely defend pitchers intentionally hitting batters, please @ me on Twitter for some civil discourse.

I’m the most controversial member of SSBT for a reason. Saying what I think and defending what I believe (and at times, know) to be right! It’s gotten me in countless twitter spats, probably losing some peripheral followers along the way, as well as gotten me #permabanned from a twitter sports trivia competition. I just can’t help it! People just incessantly want to hate on me when I spout the facts that dissent their opinions based on false-premises. Until I finally meet my match, kiss the ring. I remain undefeated in Twitter debates.

-Mike Gilligan (@BigGilli, @VerbalCommitPod and @SmallStateTakes Podcast) – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/small-state-big-takes/id1432138166 / https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/verbally-committed/id1516871465

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