Two days ago, Los Angeles Dodgers' flamethrower, Joe Kelly launched a fastball behind all-star shortstop, Alex Bregman. Although Joe Kelly has a history of lackluster control and poor command of his pitches (cue the music to "Wild Thing") more than likely the pitch was thrown in response to the Astros' sign stealing scandal. This scandal potentially cost the Dodgers the 2017 World Series.
Yesterday, Joe Kelly was suspended eight games for the incident, without pay. Due to the season being shortened from a traditional 162-game season to a 60 game season, in response to COVID-19, this further magnifies the suspension. This translates to 21.2 games in a 162-game season.
The article is titled "Major League Baseball is Broken." That seems like a harsh assertion, but I actually think it's an understatement. Keep reading, and a clearer picture will paint itself.
In 2016, Major League Baseball suspended all-star closer, Aroldis Chapman under the league's Domestic Violence policy. He choked his wife and admitted to actually shooting eight bullets into the garage wall during the argument. Chapman was suspended for 30 games.
In 2017, Mets' Closer Jeurys Familia was suspended under the same policy after leaving a bruise on his wife's face and a scratch on her chest. He was suspended for 15 games.
In January of 2020, Yankees' pitcher Domingo Germán was suspended for an undisclosed domestic violence incident. He received an 81 game suspension.
Yesterday, Joe Kelly was suspended for more than likely throwing a baseball in the direction of a player. He received an 8 (21.3) game suspension.
In total, 12 major league baseball players have been suspended under Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy. The average suspension length of those players was 52 games.
We are living in a world where a player who engages in domestic violence receives a similar, if not smaller, consequence than an on-field baseball altercation. This is unacceptable and is a direct revelation of the ineffectiveness of Major League Baseball's Domestic Violence policy. It also shows the lack of respect and human decency for the women who were abused during the incidents.
Major League Baseball, you must do better. I hate reading articles where they identify a problem and don't offer a solution, so I'm going to offer a potential solution to their inadequate domestic violence policies. I believe that the MLB must:
1. Apologize for their ineffective disciplinary policies regarding domestic violence.
2. Give domestic violence offenders a full-season suspension for their first time offense. During the suspension, the violator of the policy must engage in community service and sensitivity training.
3. If the player commits a second offense, then he should be banned from Major League Baseball for life.
This policy would send a message that not only is it important to perform at a high level as an athlete, but it is even more pivotal to perform at a high level as a human being.
Lastly, should Joe Kelly be suspended? Absolutely. Should he have a similar consequence to domestic violence violators? No. Major League Baseball is broken. However, it can be fixed.
The issue is discussed further on The Diamond LAne Podcast.