Trevor Bauer chose not to wear his "Free Joe Kelly" cleats to avoid a fine from Major League Baseball.
He might wind up getting one anyway.
The Cincinnati Reds ace ripped into MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred for not allowing him to wear the custom cleats:
Trevor Bauer @BauerOutage
For everyone wondering why I didn’t wear the cleats tonight, @MLB threatened to eject me and suspend me and levy unprecedented fines against me if I did. I couldn’t put my teammates at risk like that. Earlier this year, MLB said players could put whatever they wanted on their
Kelly was suspended for eight games (later reduced to five) for throwing at Houston Astros batters this season. The Dodgers reliever called Astros players "cheaters" and called them out for snitching on teammate Ross Stripling's podcast.
Kelly said on the podcast:
"The people who took the fall for what happened is nonsense. Yes, everyone is involved. But the way that [sign-stealing system] was run over there was not from [the] coaching staff. ... They're not the head boss in charge of that thing. It's the players. So now the players get the immunity, and all they do is go snitch like a little b---h, and they don't have to get fined, they don't have to lose games."
Bauer has been outspoken in calling out Astros players as well and in his support of Kelly, who is currently on the injured list. The Cy Young Award contender (3-0, 0.68 ERA, 0.57 WHIP) hinted there may be more custom cleats in the future, but next time he won't preview them on social media before the game.
The 29-year-old told reporters:
"They threatened to eject me from the game and suspend me if I wore them, so that was the deal. I don't think they have grounds to do that; it certainly would be completely unprecedented for, I guess, what would be considered a uniform violation by them, even though it's not really a violation, given the rules this year.
"But I just didn't want to put my teammates in a situation like that. I did wear them pregame warming up and stuff like that, so they're authenticated; they'll still be available, per the rules I put on Twitter. But I guess in the future, I just won't announce them, so that MLB can't freak out about me following the rules."