Reds Amir Garrett vs Dodgers Joe Kelly: Punishment doesn’t fit the crime

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Amir Garrett #50 Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Amir Garrett #50 Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Reds reliever Amir Garrett’s actions were much worse than that of the Dodgers Joe Kelly.

This is not an attempt to justify the actions of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly or Cincinnati Reds reliever Amir Garrett or the Houston Astros, but Major League Baseball has a huge problem on their hands. It was only a matter of time before a pitcher tried to take revenge on the Astros, and MLB’s response was a swing and a miss.

For those who don’t know, Kelly zoomed a ball past Alex Bregman’s head and got into a verbal spat with Carlos Correa. For this, Kelly received an eight-game suspension; the same number of games Garrett received last season for charging the Pittsburgh Pirates dugout and inciting a benches-clearing brawl where punches were thrown and David Bell was tackled to the ground.

These two incidents don’t seem to matchup, do they? Let’s add a little more context to the situation. Kelly never hit an opposing batter, nor was he ejected from the game. Garrett, provoked by the Pirates bench I might add, threw down his mitt, charged the Pirates dugouts and tried to throw a Superman punch. Garrett, Bell and former Reds teammate Yasiel Puig were all ejected.

I’m not done. Major League Baseball had ample opportunity last season to deescalate the brewing tensions between the Reds and Pirates. There was growing animosity between Pirates pitchers and Reds slugger Derek Dietrich throughout the season. Chris Archer threw behind Dietrich in early-April.

During the late-July game that no one in Reds Country will forget, reliever Keone Kella threw behind Dietrich. That drew the ire of Joey Votto, who had a chat with Kella as the two teams went to their respective dugouts. The following inning saw David Bell ejected, after coming to the defense of Puig.

We all know what happened in the top of the ninth; Amir Garrett didn’t take kindly to the Pirates dugout, who continued to chirp after the Reds lefty surrendered a three-run homer. Before Garrett was lifted from the game, he charged the Pittsburgh dugout, seeking the head of Trevor Williams with his fist. Thankfully, he missed and we all know what happened from there.

My point is, the two incidents are nowhere close to identical, yet the punishments are. To take it step further, Garrett received an eight-game suspension in a 162-game season. Kelly’s eight-game suspension in a 60-game season is the equivalent of about 22 games. That’s ridiculously unbalanced.

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The bottomline is this, MLB failed to justly punish the Astros for their cheating scandal and the players are upset. Don’t be surprised when opposing players try to take matters into their own hands. The exact same thing happened last year when MLB failed to properly discipline the Pirates and Clint Hurdle, so Amir Garrett took matters into his own hands, and fists.