Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly was unapologetic after throwing at Alex Bregman and mocking Carlos Correa, and it likely won’t be the last time the Astros have that experience. Their players should wear elbow and shin guards and whatever else they can to protect themselves.
Kelly zoomed a 96-mph fastball at Bregman’s head before the Astros third baseman ducked at the last millisecond Tuesday night. Kelly followed that up with two pickoff pitches that were headed right toward Bregman’s rib cage before first baseman Max Muncy caught the ball.
Kelly later faced Correa, threw an 87-mph breaking ball over his head, and struck him out. Baseball is a sport with little taunting, but Kelly vocally gloated after the strikeout and mimicked Correa by making a pouting face, which led to the benches clearing.
The Astros are MLB’s bad boys after they were found by the league to have stolen signs during their 2017 championship season. Kelly’s motive could’ve stemmed from the Astros beating his former team, the Boston Red Sox, in the 2017 ALDS, or the Dodgers’ loss in the World Series.
His responses after the game weren’t remorseful, either.
A case can be made that the Astros got the easy way out. Sure, they were fined $5 million and lost first- and second-round picks for the next two seasons, but the fan-less crowds saved them from hearing much worse than the words Kelly uttered walking off the mound. Plus, commissioner Rob Manfred essentially vowed in spring training to protect the Astros from these situations.
How the commissioner responds will be important. Throwing a 96-mph heater at someone’s head is dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
If Manfred protects the Astros, pitchers won’t be able to pitch inside, and that’s an advantage for Houston hitters. If he doesn’t, more inside fastballs are coming, and it’ll be up to the Astros to protect themselves.
Adam Silver supporting NBA players’ plan to protest peacefully
Every NBA preseason game hasn’t featured the playing of the national anthem, but when the season tips off Thursday, some players are planning to peacefully protest social injustice during the anthem.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, on Good Morning America on Wednesday, essentially implied that players won’t be punished if they kneel.
“The NBA has had a rule in its books that preceded David Stern which was standing for the national anthem,” Silver said. “Having said that, I respect peaceful protest. I’m not sure what our players will do when they come out tomorrow night and we’ll of course address it at the time, but I also understand these are highly unusual times.”
The anthem policy Silver referred to states that “players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line.” According to ESPN, league officials aren’t expected to enforce the anthem policy, which was created in 1981.
The Pelicans and Jazz will play the first game Thursday evening on TNT and intend to send a message. Malika Andrews reported that “the Pelicans and Jazz are adamant that they want to display a united front.” Coaches are expected to join them.
Matt Nagy says Nick Foles-Mitchell Trubisky battle open at quarterback
Two signs point directly to the Chicago Bears’ eventually naming Nick Foles the starter, but head coach Matt Nagy will let the competition play out.
The first sign was the Bears’ trading for Foles in March, and the second was declining the fifth-year option on Trubisky’s rookie contract. Both show that Chicago’s confidence in its former first-round quarterback is decreasing.
After a second stint with the Eagles that included a Super Bowl MVP, Foles signed with the Jaguars. But a collarbone injury limited him to four games last season. Trubisky followed a Pro Bowl season in 2018 by leading a struggling Bears offense and missing the playoffs.
Nagy’s comments insist that Trubisky has the leg up, but the offseason moves say otherwise.