Joe Kelly has been suspended by Major League Baseball once in his career.

On April 11, 2018, the Boston Red Sox were playing against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. During the early part of the game, Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin had caused a bench clearing scene after sliding into and spiking Red Sox shortstop Brock Holt at second base. No punches were thrown, but it set in motion a wild scene later in the game.

On to the seventh inning in a 10-6 New York lead where Joe Kelly let baseball police itself.

Here’s the entire scene:


Kelly drilled Austin with a 98mph fastball, 2-1 pitch in the ribs. A frustrated Austin slams the bat on the dirt in anger while staring down Kelly. After taking a few steps toward each other, Kelly, wasn’t ready to back down. “Come on,” Joe stated, while gesturing to Austin. From there, the brawl was on, and “Joe Kelly Fight Club” was born.

When he spoke on it, Kelly denied any intention to drill the Yankee.

Kelly was suspended for 6 games for his actions.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “Suspensions are always not fun. We have to play a guy down for six games.” He appealed, but the suspension was upheld. “I always like sticking up for myself,” he said. “It kind of helps me sleep at night, going in and fighting for what I believe. It didn’t work out.”

While it wasn’t the best scene or look for Joe Kelly, he worked to make the best out of a bad situation. During his time off — or “time out,” as he called it, he took in some games with Red Sox fans from the stands, and helped raise money with Mission 108, and most importantly, awareness for issues with modern slavery in the world.

Joe Kelly’s “JK56 COME ON” Challenge