Not long after writing this script, I was shamed a little by a call into KNBR about a guy bemoaning how retaliation can filter down into high school sports, parents, and coaches. The caller acted like a douche and made his point about as clear as figuring out just who is and isn’t allowed to give politicians money under Prop 32. But I got what he was saying: everyone (including me) started referencing a desire for retaliation, and if that’s happening in the MLB level, then it’s a bad example for younger players who are trying to reach those levels.
He’s not wrong.
But then, baseball’s rules that essentially prohibit enforcing other rules are a little unfair. In Game 3, the umpires are going to be on top alert for any shenanigans, meaning any pitcher whose cut fastball cuts too much and brushes a jersey might get disproportionately punished.
And that’s a shame, because the system basically lets someone get in a cheap shot, and it’s a race to see who gets it first, because they get it for free.
And yes, that Holliday slide was a cheap shot. It was a dirty play. Was it legal? Yes, but legal and dirty are not mutually exclusive properties. (See Prop 32.)
Not that rules need fixing, but the level of physicality at second base is as troubling as it is at home at times, especially when Matt Holliday appears to be doing more to practice a crucifix pin than make an attempt at brushing second base. Sure, as the mind-numbingly terrible St. Louis announcers proudly proclaim “Good clean play… Right over the base.” Hell, by that definition, Holliday could keep right running into left field to see if Blanco wants a piece of him. Good clean baseball, sure.
How about we put a modicum of sense into second base. It’s not first, where a runner can run into his own bullpen after touching first as he slows down, without worry of being tagged out so long as he never turns the same direction as a NASCAR. If a runner goes by second, he’s liable to be tagged out. So how about if a runner goes past second base without the reasonable ability to stop and still be on the bag, while attempting to influence another part of the play, it’s runner’s interference?
Of course, to get a rule like that, it’d take an injury that’d make a Scott Cousins shoulderblock look like a beagle puppy running headfirst into a paper bag. And Scutaro was not going to be that sacrificial lamb. Not tonight.
Which brings up another topic on my mind. The Baseball Gods.
The BeeGees got a lot of airplay in the media after this one. Scutaro staying in long enough to pick up a pair of hits, including a huge one that broke the game open. That, overall, thsi win was a karmic payback of some sort.
Well, there’s truth in one thing: the play woke the Giants up, and pissed them off. As mild-mannered as Matt Cain was in his mid-game interview, you could see thunder against Holliday behind his eyes. Or maybe that was Romo. It was hard to tell while having to listen to Joe Buck.
But Baseball Gods? I’m hardly an atheist here, but let’s be honest: the Baseball Gods were wearing blue. The Giants benefitted from two badly blown calls. In the fourth, had Brandon Crawford (rightfully) been called for being out of the baseline, that whole fourth inning would go differently, and lose its tie-breaking run. And in the 8th, he got tagged. Yup, that was an out at first.
Were the blues looking at the karmic scorecards and trying to even things out for something they disapprove of? You won’t hear any confirmations of that from them until a deathbed is involved. But I wouldn’t be surprised.
Now, that ground ball kicking through Holliday’s legs? That was clearly @MLBJesus, all the way.