By now, you’ve seen the replay ad nauseam – and while it’s not at Scott Cousins/Buster Posey levels, what happened last night between Matt Holliday and Marco Scutaro was not good, no matter how you try to slice it. But is Matt Holliday a dirty player? Before I get into that – let’s look at the replay one last time:
Initially, in real time, it looked bad, but maybe it was just an accident…
Or – maybe not.
Clearly, in both scenarios, Matt Holliday was gunning for the infielder with ill-regard. By no stretch of the imagination am I saying the game shouldn’t be played hard – I’m as old school as they come in that sense, but Holliday went above and beyond.
In last nights tilt, Holliday, who starts his slide extremely late (self-admitted), begins on one side of the bag prior to his slide with his body finishing completely on the other side before the play comes to a completion. In the contest between the Cubs and Cardinals, he kicks out his leg in an attempt to whip Castro, clearly out of the baseline in the process.
In his post game presser, Holliday was remorseful for what he did, but that doesn’t excuse his play. I don’t honestly believe Holliday is a dirty player, he had the right idea in both scenarios, he simply failed to execute them properly. Breaking up the double play is your job as a baserunner, but using your body as a projectile in the process (or whip) is not how it’s done. Both Castro and Scutaro had protected themselves as much as they could in their said scenarios – Castro well away from the bag, Scutaro a step behind his – yet Holliday somehow found a way to send them both to the ground. It’s one thing to play hard – but you have to be smart in doing so.
Assuming Marco Scutaro returns to the San Francisco Giants next year – retaliation will be had. There wont be a fastball to the ribs of Matt Holliday in the next few games – there are far more important matters for the Giants to deal with right now, but there’s no doubt Holliday has a giant target on his back – literally.
Matt Holliday didn’t attempt to hurt Marco Scutaro – he didn’t attempt to hurt Starlin Castro. It’s not as if he was going at them with blood in his eyes. But what he did in both scenarios was bush league, a poor execution of a traditional baseball rule. You as a player have a responsibility to play smart and even a momentary lapse in judgement could be detrimental to another players career, which there simply isn’t an excuse for.
So is he dirty? I don’t honestly believe he is. His intentions were on point. But were his decisions, to do what he did, how he did them, dirty? Without a doubt. Were his slides reckless? Clearly. Were his decisions in both scenarios, stupid? Surely. Will he have a few extra bruises from a couple teams next year? You bet’cha.