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Keone Kela Is Good And Important

Keone Kela will be media silent this year. That’s OK.

Keone Kela won???t be speaking to the media this season, according to John Perrotto of DK Pittsburgh Sports.

On behalf of Pirate fans everywhere, thank you, Keone Kela.

If you follow the Pirates at all, you know that Kela was a key addition last year. An addition that would have been considered one of the Pirates largest midseason acquisitions in recent years if it wasn???t for Archer overshadowing him just a few hours later. Kela was the full time closer for the Rangers, a position that took him four years in the big leagues to achieve.

Kela has a bit of history. In 2013, while he was playing in Low-A, he was removed from the game during the middle of an at-bat. He was demoted to the Rookie League following the game. In 2017, Kela was demoted from the MLB team to AAA because of an incident during an intrasquad game. Apparently, the veterans on the squad felt that Kela was being borderline disrespectful and put in a low effort, so much so that the veterans spoke to him about it. It led to some heated exchanges, and it ended up getting bad enough that the Rangers punished him by demoting him to start the season.

Given his past, him not speaking to reporters in 2019 is at the very least, an interesting story.

As a blogger, I can come up with a couple of theories that explain why Kela might want to lay low. First, I think it???s possible that he is resentful of how the Pirates handled him to end the season. The Pirates shut him down in September ???to ensure an optimal amount of rest and recovery to be ready in Spring Training???, which could easily be interpreted as the Pirates looking to save money by limiting Kela???s innings. Kela was arbitration eligible last year, so missing out on those additional innings likely did cost Kela some money. The Pirates settled on a deal with Kela outside of arbitration, but it???s worth noting nonetheless.

Another possible issue is that Kela isn???t the closer he dreamed of being. In an interview from 2015, Kela said about closing ???Closers wanna go out there and take everything. Because that’s your money out there. You may only get 3 or 4 chances to throw a week and you want to eat. You don’t want anybody else to take food off your plate.” To be fair, after Kela was traded to the Pirates he said he???s not ???really here looking for a role??? and that he simply wants to win games.

I don???t think any of these theories are likely, but they are interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately, as a blogger, I have no access to the players. I have to rely on journalists to do their job in order for me to have a more informed opinion when writing here. That is why I am so disappointed in the way the Pittsburgh media not only is, but has been for years.

Can you really blame Kela for not wanting to talk to the Pittsburgh media? Over the past couple of weeks, Colin Dunlap and Mark Madden have put on quite the showcase. Dunlap has said that he has a ???great life, wife, family, job, comfortable living, etc??? and that he wakes up legitimately happy. He then asks the question, what does Mark Madden have outside of his radio show? An incredibly childish remark to make, even though Mark Madden is quite the idiot himself.

Madden is pretty clearly playing a character. But playing a character doesn???t excuse you from being a jerk. Madden???s new favorite phrase appears to be ???This Is What It???s All About???, a phrase he uses whenever JuJu Smith-Schuster does charity work or posts a video of him dancing. Madden has dug himself into a corner, so he will assure you he???s in no way insulting JuJu, but anyone with half a brain can see Madden just seems to enjoy picking on a guy who is actively helping make the Pittsburgh community a better place.

And let us all not forget Colin Dunlap???s infamous ???liability??? remark. Last year, Dunlap called Marte and Polanco ???liabilities???, despite Marte being the best player on the team and Polanco having arguably his best season.?? For cultivating a persona of a ‘let’s all be good yinzers together’, Dunlap is incredibly thin-skinned and known to lash out on social media.

Media as a whole is based around the numbers. Without views, the media wouldn???t have any jobs. I get that. But the media has a responsibility to their audience to be as objective and impartial as possible. You can probably count on one hand the amount of members in the media that are objective and impartial. Dejan Kovacevic and Madden both appeal to the lowest common denominator. Since Dejan relies on subscribers, he needs to find a compelling way to get people to support him over anybody else. Of course, the easiest way to a yinzer’s heart is by berating Nutting and the Pirates. Nutting and the Pirates absolutely deserve criticism, in fact, they deserve a lot of it. But these guys put in such little effort that it borders on the area of fraud.

Dejan has had a clear agenda for years. From his tweets from Rio to his recent tweet characterizing Keone Kela as a ???weird dude??? who is ???not nearly good or important enough???, Dejan remains an unlikable snake oil salesman who is catering to outrage culture in Pittsburgh sports.

Keone Kela past makes him anything but an uninteresting character. And his present role makes him anything but unimportant. And, my goodness, I certainly don???t have to explain to you that he is good enough.

A couple of years ago, Sports Illustrated ran an article about how sports reporting is moving further and further away from objectivity. Pittsburgh has taken a liking to the new era of reporting, and it’s sad. Pittsburgh is a very passionate sports town. The radio show hosts and journalists have taken full advantage of this, and in doing so, have made Pittsburgh one of the worst sports media cities in the country.

More players should boycott the media. It doesn’t matter if you do good things like JuJu or not, your time will come to get ridiculed. So, Keone Kela, maybe you are weird. But you sure as hell??are important and you??are??good.

Any sports ‘journalist’ should know this. Only a ‘Lunatic’ would disagree.

Jake is a Pirates contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. He is currently attending Saint Vincent College and is pursuing a degree in Finance. You might know him as @CannonballCrner on Twitter. Jake used to write for his own site, but now does all his writing at the Point of Pittsburgh. He is a big fan of the slider and wishes Chad Kuhl a speedy recovery.

6 Comments on Keone Kela Is Good And Important

  1. This is awesome. I’m not from Pittsburgh but have been following the Pirates since the mid-70s and am a huge fan. Since I don’t hear/see them on a daily basis,I guess I didn’t know just HOW annoying Dunlap and Madden were until their pissing match last week. Dejan I hadn’t read in years and I didn’t know he had his own problems these days as well.

    I never really understood why we need to hear so much from these players anyway. If they don’t want to talk, that’s fine with me. Some have good things to say but most of it is exactly like the Bull Durham cliche scenes.

    Maybe it’s good if the players say less and focus more on their jobs. I wouldn’t want to be interviewed every day after work either.

  2. Great article. Good insight. SVC Class of ’85 here, and my picture is hanging in the shack, around a cake from the year SVC went co-ed. Keep up the good work.

  3. The population in Pgh is the most negative, self pitying group of people in the country. The local sports media is playing to their audience. Locals lost hope when the mills closed in the late 70s and developed a toxic culture that permeates everything. The Steelers seem to be the most resistant to the stink as they were good during the worst of times. I left do to the negativity and see it first hand every trip back. I love my family and friends but a week at a time is more than enough with the rest.

  4. Daquido Bazzini // March 4, 2019 at 3:51 PM //

    Anyone that thinks the sports media in Pittsburgh is any worse than most other cities…..Haven’t lived in other cities.
    It’s a jungle out there…Period.
    As for Kela, I don’t like the decision.
    The Pirates have enough problems (starting at the top with cheapskate extraordinaire Bob Nutting).
    No need to add to the situation with what will only be seen as an attitude problem.
    What a mess this once proud organization is!

  5. Patrick O'Neill // March 5, 2019 at 3:08 PM //

    Good article, Jake. I certainly didn’t know this background info on Kela. I hope he changes his mind about talking to press. You have to have a thick skin as a player.

    I also grew up in Pgh but haven’t lived there for years. I get frustrated with my brother, who’s still there, when he complains that the Pirates should have a similiar biz plan to the Steelers and Pens. That’s impossible because those sports have salary caps and their expenses, incomes, so much else is completely different. Baseball’s salary control mechanism is called a “luxury tax,’ which tells you everything. A big market team can afford to pay that if it wants.

    It only makes sense if you compare the Pirates to other mid-market BASEBALL teams (KC, Minn, etc). Compare them to Cleveland, for goodness sakes, if you want to make a case. I do wish Nutting would spend more but there are many things that go into this, not just Nutting’s and minority owners’ pockets.

    They should invest more in players, for example, to boost viewers, listeners, and attendance to prepare for the next media contract(s).

    But they are also planning, I think and hope, to spend more on arb-eligible players going into next year and the next. It’s all a gamble, and several gambles, especially when you can’t make big-time mistakes and brush it aside
    like big-market teams.

    I live in NYC and sports media here are huge and also very critical, and fans/media are extremely fickle, but sometimes I feel that many Pgh fans are more so than in NYC.

    Oh well, that’s why they call us all fans (short for fanatics). Arguments are part of the deal. (That’s part of why I hate the DH but that’s another story).

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