By Jordan Palmer
Excecutive Producer of the Cardinal Nation Show
(The Chirp) -- The moment I saw the replay of Matt Holliday's hard slide into Marco Scutaro, I knew everyone would be talking about it on Tuesday. When it's your team in the field and on the receiving end of such a play, it's quite understandable to be upset and instantly believe that the opposing player, "intended to injure."
That was the point of an email I received this morning from a Giants fan. I thought his first line was interesting. He wrote, "Holliday's only thought was to take out (hurt??) Scutaro." I'm fairly certain, that this fan does not know Matt Holliday, nor do I think he knows what Matt Holliday was thinking at the moment of the slide. But, for right now, let's just chalk that comment up to the adrenaline rush we get when we're super angry, just like many of us would have gotten seeing Daniel Descalso on the receiving end of such a slide.
Was the slide late? In my opinion, yes. Should the play have resulted in the runner being called out at first? In my opinion yes, but as Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said, "What he did was absolutely allowed. But not appreciated."
"In hindsight, I wish I would have started the slide a step earlier," said Holliday. "But I went in there in the heat of the moment, trying to break up the double play. Obviously, there was no intent to hurt him. It's part of the deal. Every run in the postseason is so huge."
"The Cardinal Way" of playing baseball dictates that it's the runner's job to try and break up the double play, but it doesn't say the runner should intentionally try to injure the opposing player in doing so, and I believe the Giants fan is incorrect in assuming Holliday's only thought was to injure Scutaro.
This is a hard question. And it made me think of another "hard slide" incident, ironically involving the Cardinals and Giants. This took place in 1988 and featured the Cardinals in the field, and a Giants runner named Will Clark.
You may remember the play, Clark running hard into the second, and sliding hard into Jose Oquendo, resulting in a bench clearing brawl. In this case, it was the Cardinal fans who believed that Clark intended to injure Oquendo, and Giants fans defending the play, as "hard nosed."
I remember despising Will Clark for 12 years. Because it was in 2000, that Will Clark brought his game to St. Louis, and frankly, optimized the Cardinal Way of playing the game. It was at that time, that I realized he wasn't trying to "injure" Oquendo, but that it he really was just playing the game. Hard.
But the entire reason I bring this up, is because I happen to work at a TV station, with access to an archive dating back decades. I'm pretty good at finding old video, and found this interview with Mr. Clark, pretty much summing up why he slid into Oquendo hard, and frankly he is also speaking up for Matt Holliday, just 25 years earlier.
Play the attached video and check out Mr. Clark. Sorry I can't show the actual slide. MLB rules prohibit showing game footage but it's Clark's words that are important.