Behind the Scenes with Merrill Kelly and his Q&A

Merrill Kelly gets candid with the fans about his life, time in Arizona, what the fans mean to him, and more
Apr 15, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Chase Field. All players wore number 42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Chase Field. All players wore number 42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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The Arizona Diamondbacks longtime Co-Ace, Merrill Kelly, spoke with reporters and then fans at the Diamondbacks Watch Party Friday night at Guy Fieri’s DTPHX Kitchen + Bar. He spoke at length about his injury and contract, but he also answered plenty of other interesting questions and shared quite a bit about his life and his past.

Merrill Kelly spoke with fans and D-backs host Mike Bauer for over 28 minutes as well as reporters for over five minutes. It was a rare chance to get to know the player beyond the field and discover new information and insights into who Merrill Kelly is as a player and what he enjoys beyond the diamond.

Kelly explained what he's been up to while being on the IL including some happy news regarding his family that is soon to be expanding.

"I'm trying to take every opportunity right now to be a dad. My daughter's almost 2 1/2, so I think I've really tried to focus my energy on that area of my life. It's kind of been a little bit of a blessing, my wife's pregnant as well so to be able to help her and be a dad, it's kind of a blessing in disguise and actually get to spend some time with her."

Kelly said that they are expecting a boy. Asked if he wants more, "That'll be it. There's no more after that. It's two, one of each."

His other "son", Geraldo Perdomo, a running gimmick started in Spring Training, recently made his return from injury. Kelly shared what Perdomo means to the team and clubhouse. He also joked that he is the loudest guy on the team and the guy with the most energy. "You always know where Domo is."

"I'm excited for him and I'm excited for the team. Domo brings a lot of good energy to the stadium. When you first get to know him, it might be a little much but I think he brings a good environment to the dugout and really brings some life back into the team."

"Domo's good though. He's been like that since he came up in the Big Leagues. And that's one thing I got to hand it on though, he's always been himself...It's kind of frowned upon if a rookie comes in to the clubhouse and is a little loud. You know I think that first year, he kind of rubbed some guys the wrong way but once you get to know Domo, and you just know that that's pure energy and fun."

Kelly loves to golf with Camelback being the one he frequents the most and Whisper Rock being his favorite.

His favorite place to visit in Arizona is Sedona, a place he goes to every offseason with his family.

He badly is missing the Philadelphia series and had this road trip circled on his calendar from Spring Training. "This is the trip that I think I've missed the most...because of how intense last year was and how much fun we had...I'm definitely having a little bit of FOMO missing out on this series...I was really hoping to get to pitch in this one."

"It's tough watching the team you love playing for, guys you want to pull for and be there for, sometimes you almost feel a little helpless so that's probably been the hardest part...I'd love to go back and kind of quiet that, kind of shut that crowd up but maybe we'll do it again in October."

"Those games in Philly were probably some of the most electric intense hostile sporting events that I've ever been a part of. The games at Philly almost sometimes felt a little bit more like a World Series than the actual World Series just because of the Phillies fans and kind of the media stuff that happened with me on my comments about it being loud."

Merrill Kelly believes wholly that Ketel Marte and Christian Walker should be All-Stars this year. He hopes D-backs fans are voting for them.

On Marte being All-Star worthy, "I think Marty's playing with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder and I think he thought he deserved being an All-Star last year which I would agree with so I think he's just out to show everybody that they were wrong last year. I think he's kind of on a revenge path right now...It makes me wish that I was there in person to really see it and hear the ball coming off his bat."

As for Walker, it turns out that the two of them are close friends. "He's one of my closest friends on the team. He's been with me, him, and Ketel, since the same time that I was since 2019. And Walk is one of the most underappreciated players in the league in my opinion."

"You're not going to find a better first baseman and what he brings to the table every day is just professionalism."

Kelly spoke about the impact that Pitching Coach Brent Strom has had. "That guy breathes baseball more than anybody I think I've ever been around. He will send you emails on Christmas Eve at 2 o'clock in the morning talking about sinker percentages."

"You know he has kind of an aura around him. He's kind of built a really, really soft reputation that you're talking about but that guy like I said, lives and breathes baseball. Like I said, he never stops thinking about it."

Kelly revealed how some of the mound visits Strom makes are just give Kelly a rest until the umpire comes out. Others are to give scouting reports on a hitter, but there are some that he hopes he never gets.

"Hopefully it's not the kind of get on your ass and make you pick it up a little bit because you've been slacking or throwing too many balls or nitpicking a little bit."

When asked about his favorite jersey of the D-backs, Kelly was emphatic in one that he didn't like. He does not like the red jersey. "My easy answer is really anything but the red. I'm just not a big fan of the red one for whatever reason, it just doesn't please my eyes very much but I like this one [White] a lot. This one and the black one are probably my two favorites."

As for the litany of injuries for the D-backs, Merrill Kelly mentioned that he believes it's due to the stress and length of last season coupled with the lack of rest between seasons. However, he has stayed positive and made a joke to GM Mike Hazen about the rotation injuries.

"I made a comment that we have probably the best ACL pitching staff ever created. I don't think he liked that very much. He just kind of looked at me and walked away which I guess is understandable but it's tough."

Kelly does realize that his career is closer to being over than it is to the beginning. That's what made the World Series run last year just so special. He made sure to soak up every second and not let anything disrupt or ruin the moment. He wanted to ensure that it was a lasting memory.

"I know I'm closer to the end of my career than I am to the beginning of it for sure. And guys have played 20 years in this league and never even come close to playing in the World Series sometimes so I was really just trying my best to just enjoy everything I could."

Kelly added how thankful he is to the fans. They've been so gracious to him and thanked him at grocery stores and a multitude of places. He shared just what an impact that has made on him.

"It's kind of been one of the coolest things for us as's kind of easy for us to forget what it is that we do and how much it means to you guys sitting here right now...the legitimate thank yous that we get really hits home for us because we don't think about it that way, it's our job..It's really cool to hear so I really do appreciate that."

Jake Oliver


Jake Oliver is a Baseball Reporter for Inside the Diamondbacks, part of the Sports Illustrated Network. His passion is statistics along with all things MLB. Jake used to be the site expert for Venom Strikes. Be sure to follow him for Diamondbacks updates, Dbacks breaking news, Star Wars love, and more on Twitter @DarthDbacks.