St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday needs to be punished, at least to some degree, for his blatantly obvious slide that was designed to take out San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro during Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News wrote that the slide was evocative of the Will Clark play back in 1988 when the Giants and Cardinals met in the postseason.
Clark went in hard at second base attempting to break up a double play and upended Cardinals shortstop Jose Oquendo, touching off one of the most memorable brawls in Giants history. With St. Louis infielders pummeling Clark, the Giants, most notably outfielders Dusty Baker and Candy Maldonado, rushed to his defense. There ensued a full-tilt melee in the middle of the diamond.
While there was no such drama this time around, Holliday's reckless abandon is not something that can go unnoticed from the Commissioner's office.
Most slides into second base are designed to break up a double play, but they don't deliberately go after the player covering the bag. The runner will keep his hand up or slide slightly out of the line in order to force the defender to put less on the throw.
That was clearly not the case with Holliday. However, I do think there has to be some leeway. I don't think that you can suspend Holliday for what he did. Everything has to be taken on a case-by-case basis, and he wasn't attempting to hurt Scutaro.
It is weird since we are saying that Holliday was trying to take out Scutaro, but there is a distinction that can be made. Pete Rose barreling over Ray Fosse was an attempt to hurt a player, not just playing to win.
Players should have enough respect for themselves, each other and the game to avoid deliberately trying to hurt someone.
Holliday violated that, at least to some extent, on Monday night. As a result, he deserves to be hit in the wallet.
Sure, Holliday can afford to pay any fine levied against him, but it is also a way for Major League Baseball to send a message to anyone else, including the Giants, who might look to retaliate in some way later in this series.