Joe Kelly wasn't on the Dodgers when they lost to the Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series, but he still holds a deep grudge against the players for shifting blame and avoiding punishment after cheating their way to a championship.
Kelly was a guest on "The Big Swing," a podcast co-hosted by Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, and didn't mince words when discussing Astros players' handling of the scandal during the offseason and in spring training.
He said they became snitches and ratted. He railed against them for scapegoating management and the coaching staff, specifically Alex Cora, the Astros' bench coach in 2017 and later his manager for two seasons with the Boston Red Sox.
Cora was fired as Red Sox manager after Major League Baseball's report named him as one of the cheating scheme's masterminds. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch also lost their jobs. Carlos Beltran, the only player named in MLB's report, was let go as manager of the New York Mets before he managed a game. The other players involved received immunity to cooperate with the league's investigation. Kelly called the lack of player punishment "nonsense."
"The way that (scheme) was run over there was not from the coaching staff," Kelly said. "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 ..., and they don't have to get fined, they don't have to lose games."
Kelly said Cora is a "personal friend and a guy who I passionately love." He explained Cora had to pull his daughter from her middle school in the United States and move to Puerto Rico because of the verbal abuse she received. He said Cora wants to eventually "speak his mind" and tell his side of the story.
"Everyone knows they cheated," Kelly said. "That's fine. That's completely fine. It's not fine to do it, but it's fine that we already know it happened. What's not fine is ruining someone's life to make yourself look better. That ain't fine."
The podcast episode was released at midnight Thursday but was recorded Aug. 2 when, the Dodgers were in San Diego. Kelly was four days removed from receiving an eight-game suspension for throwing pitches near two Astros batters' heads.
Kelly fired a 3-0 fastball behind Alex Bregman's head in the first game of a two-game series against the Astros on July 28. He threw a curveball near Carlos Correa's head later in the inning that Correa believed was intentional.
Correa glared at Kelly. The two later exchanged words when Correa struck out to end the inning. Kelly mocked Correa with a pouting face before the benches cleared.