It's a rare thing for me to go the BTO card, but when in Rome. Or Houston, as the case may be.
If you're unfamiliar, "BTO" is short for Bachman-Turner Overdrive, the 1970s rock band, (referred to on more than one occasion as Bachman-Turner Overplay), whose biggest hit was a 1973 number called "Takin’ Care of Business." Catchy tune, and an anthem of sorts in its day.
While parsing the lyrics won't help much, the phrase, "chances are you'll go far if you get in with the right bunch of fellows" is apt. The point is, the Dodgers and Joe Kelly took care of business last night in Houston, with a 5-2 win and a statement made. They simply took care of business. Which is a thing in baseball and in life. Any objective baseball person will tell you it had to happen. In some form. And wherever Kelly was in the clubhouse prior to Tuesday afternoon, he's gone far (farther) with his fellows now.
Look, no one is condoning head-hunting, OK? Same as most, I wasn't crazy about the behind-Alex-Bregman's head wild pitch. But the last I checked there was no HBP in the boxscore. No one sprawled on the dirt writhing in pain, bleeding from nose and mouth. There was no beaning, no injuries of any kind and no bench-clearing brawl. The Astros knew they had some kind of Dodgers response coming and now it's happened. Pretty tame, all things considered.
If the Dodgers feel like what happened yesterday isn't enough, and take it a step farther, that's on them, and we'll address it here. I don't think they will. If the 'Stros retaliate, then it's "Katie bar the door," as Don Drysdale would say. We'll address that too. I'm confident that readers of a certain age know that Big D wouldn't have wasted four pitches on Mr. Bregman.
Meanwhile, whatever the L.A. fanbase thought about Joe Kelly prior to last night, that's all gone now. He's a hero in the Southland and wherever Dodgers fans reside, which is essentially everywhere. Kelly is a Dodger now. A real Dodger, previously best-known for drilling Hanley Ramirez in the ribs to take him out of the 2013 National League Championship Series.
And it wasn't just the way Kelly handled Bregman, Carlos Correa and the rest during his scoreless sixth inning (one of 5 1/3 shutout frames by L.A. relievers); it was the aftermath. The pouty face, the "nice swing, bitch," if Dusty Baker is to believed. We don't know that that's what Kelly actually said walking off the field after the inning, but "nice swing, bitch" was all over social media and had been created into a t-shirt for sale within minutes.
From my perspective as a fan, if I didn't already have a dog named Kelly, I'd name a dog Kelly.
It's over and done with. Again, the Dodgers have taken care of business, OK? That should be the end of it. A win tonight and a sweep of the little two-game series in Texas would put a stamp on the thing. Meanwhile, to the extent possible, enjoy the musical interlude.
And remember, glove conquers all.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.