FORT MYERS — What if you die tomorrow and nobody ever got to know you?
This is the motto Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly lives by. It’s his own personal creed, the driving force behind everything he does. It’s neither a lesson his parents taught him nor something a crazy aunt once said that always stuck. No, Kelly came up this one himself. He was 4 years old.
“Since then I’ve felt comfortable being myself,” he said. “Some people say you have to act a certain way but life is short. You don’t want to be someone that you’re not for no reason.”
Guess how long it took Kelly to feel like he could be himself in the Red Sox clubhouse last year after he was traded from the Cardinals on July 31 in the deal that sent John Lackey to St. Louis? The answer: zero hours and zero minutes.
Kelly walks around in unique T-shirts he ordered off some odd website he found. One of his favorites reads: “I’m not weird, I’m a pitcher.” With his long hair, baggy shorts and neon accessories, he’s easy to spot and he’s almost always smiling, unless he’s telling a joke with a sarcastic tone.
Joking around is one of his favorite things to do. He’s thinking about going professional in it one day.
“I would love to try stand-up comedy,” said Kelly, who allowed four runs over 12⁄3 innings against the Twins in his first spring training start last night. “That would be freaking awesome, to go to some classes and learn some stuff.”
Some look at the Red Sox rotation of Kelly, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson and think nobody stands out. But Kelly hopes everyone will stand out.
He thinks too many people try to live inside the lines, careful not to offend anyone and too conscious of the person everyone else wants them to be.
“Forget about that,” said Kelly, who majored in sports psychology at University of California. “Don’t hide who you are.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell, a stern man who commands respect, can appreciate what Kelly brings to the rotation.
“He’s smart, he& …Read More