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‘Don’t give up on baseball’: Former Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly wrote an impassioned op-ed to fans amid MLB lockout

Joe Kelly spent four and half seasons with the Red Sox before signing with the Dodgers in 2019.Barry Chin

After Major League Baseball announced that a few of the games at the beginning of the 2022 season would officially be canceled due to the league’s ongoing lockout, one of the many reactions from commentators was that fans could become apathetic towards the sport.

But as the league remains bogged down in the dispute between the players and owners, former Red Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly has a simple message for those in the baseball community.

“All I ask is that while we are waiting, don’t forget why you care so much,” Kelly wrote in a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.


Kelly, 33, is a free agent after three years with the Dodgers. He said in February that he’s interested in staying in Los Angeles, but is unable to officially sign anywhere because of the lockout.

As a result, Kelly — much like many of the game’s fans — is currently stuck waiting for a resolution. What he sought to explain in his op-ed was why baseball is a sport worth waiting for.

“This should be the reminder that baseball is a book, not a sentence,” Kelly explained.

The game, Kelly noted, is potentially at a “crossroads.”

“The momentum of 2021 was great,” he wrote. “Younger fans. More excitement. A genuine feeling that a new generation was starting to buy in. And now we’re at a screeching halt, stuck with hype men for baseball in the form of labor-relation attorneys.”

Kelly avoided any direct commentary on the issues of the lockout itself, or how long it might last, but simply stressed the importance of returning once the league returns to the diamond.

“Don’t forget why baseball is so awesome,” Kelly concluded. “I haven’t, and never will.”