How They See It: The Slide Edition
Introducing How They See It, a segment where we take a closer look at how local St. Louis sports issues are being talked about from a national perspective.
Topic number one on the docket should come as no surprise: Matt Holliday’s hard slide into Marco Scutaro in the first inning of NLCS Game 2.
As much play as this thing is getting around the country, you’d think it was up there in importance with Kirk Gibson’s gimp-legged pinch homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Or pretty much anything that happened from the seventh inning on during Game 6 last year.
It was a notable play, but really, how much can the location where a man falls to the dirt affect an entire postseason? Well, quite a bit as a matter of fact, according to ESPN.com Senior Writer Jayson Stark:
In the article, Stark refers to the incident as “The Slide” and asks: Will it be followed by “The Revenge?”
A bit on the melodramatic side don’t you think? Not sure the play measures up in the annals of sports playoff lore to say, “The Catch” or “The Drive” or even “The Drive: Part Two.”
I guess I should just be happy he didn’t refer to it as “Slidegate.”
Stark goes on to write, “We have no way of knowing right now, obviously, if the course of postseason events was irrevocably altered by what happened Monday at AT&T Park.”
Irrevocably altered the course of events? It was Holliday that struck Scutaro at second base, not a dinosaur-killing asteroid.
Mark Herrmann of the Long Island Newsday manages to take it a step further with his article, entitled:
Oooooooh…so ominous. Are you threatening us, Mark? Take it easy there, tough guy.
He’s probably right though, “The Slide” won’t be forgotten anytime soon – at least not as long as MLB Network is running replays of it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Speaking of which, MLB Network analyst Mitch “Wyld Thyng” Williams opined that he thought the slide was late, but not malicious in intent. And in some respect, the play appeared worse because Holliday is a “large human.”
All of which is true. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Holliday is a large human; and the larger the human, the more potential for damage.
Want proof? Check out this highlight of Prince Fielder breaking up a double play at second from earlier this season.
Ugly stuff, but truth be told, we really have no way of knowing whether or not ”The Slide” even caused Scutaro’s injury. Sometimes there’s nobody near the shortstop and he gets hurt even worse. Don’t believe me?
As it stands, reports are that Scutaro suffered a hip strain, but has traveled with the team to St. Louis and may even start in Game 3. Yay.
To his part, Holliday could have exhibited more concern for Scutaro’s health, instead of say, allowing Peter Gammons to interview him at an Animal House-style toga party later that night.
Probably not the best PR move, but in fact, Holliday was very concerned, and has since apologized the best way a person possibly can – by taking advantage of some oddly specific sympathy card designs from Hallmark.
No word yet on whether Cardinals’ brass will also extend an olive branch to Scutaro and alter their pregame festivities to allow him to sing the national anthem. At present, that duty still falls on county music artist Joe Nichols.
Joe Nichols? What, did Billy Ray Cyrus have a scheduling conflict? I guess I should just be happy it isn’t Mrs. Russell’s kindergarten class from Glenridge Elementary in Clayton.
Take that Chili Davis. We are definitely not a cow town.