The World Baseball Classic has been the talk of the town for the past two weeks with big upsets, fun celebrations, no-doubt home runs, and, unfortunately, injuries.
Mets closer Edwin Diaz’s season-ending knee injury has been the subject of debate since Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic last Wednesday night. Although Diaz got hurt during the World Baseball Classic, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the WBC is to blame for the injury.
Joe Kelly has made his thoughts known on controversial topics in the past, such as the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal. The veteran pitcher and author of “A Damn Near Perfect Game: Reclaiming America's Pastime” didn’t hold back when talking about the Diaz situation.
Kelly joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and gave his take on the Diaz injury and WBC discussion.
“The guy got hurt having fun celebrating with teammates. Who gives a s–t? It was very unfortunate. But it is what it is,” Kelly said. “I can get hurt right now driving home and get paralyzed and break my neck in a car accident. It doesn’t matter. People are always going to give an excuse.
“If you have an excuse saying like ‘Oh, he shouldn’t have played,’ shut up, dude. Just shut your mouth. It doesn’t matter. That’s not why he got hurt,” Kelly continued. “It could’ve happened game one of the playoffs or it could’ve happened game one of opening day of him jumping and if his cartilage was already weak it could’ve ripped.”
While there is some risk in the WBC of pitchers throwing high-stress pitches earlier than expected, that wasn’t the case for Diaz. He struck out the side before suffering the unfortunate injury.
“Every spring training there’s stupid injuries. That one year, bro, I f—ing broke my back pretty much holding 80-pound crawfish boil at my house and I was picking up the pot and I almost like herniated one of my discs,” Kelly said. “So there’s always going to be something stupid that happens. Someone cuts their hand making dinner.”
The World Baseball Classic has been electric, especially in the elimination stage, and that should only encourage more players to represent their countries the next time around.
“I think the World Baseball Classic is great for baseball and you want every superstar playing in it as much as you can,” Kelly said. “Injuries happen.”