ST. LOUIS -- The day after, little had changed concerning the detonation of the latest round in the Giants-Cardinals historical feud.San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy still considered Matt Holliday's slide "illegal." Bochy's players still considered Holliday's slide "clean" but "late." Holliday was still remorseful. Marco Scutaro was still very sore.
And both managers just wanted to move on from Holliday's take-out slide of Scutaro in the first inning of Monday's Game 2 and move on to Wednesday's Game 3."The more it's kept alive and talked about like this the more it just seems to linger," St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny said Tuesday in his early-afternoon meeting with media in Busch Stadium. "We're not looking for anybody to be hurt here. We don't play the game that way. We do play hard and we understand that they play hard. That's the way the game goes. "If we didn't play it like that, with passion, I wouldn't expect anybody to show up to watch." "What's on our mind," echoed Bochy, "is to go out and play our best ball in the ballgame. That's over. You have to move on. You hate to see what happened ... but what's important is that we keep our focus and go out there to try to win a ballgame. That's where we're at right now." Video of the play in which Holliday barreled into Scutaro to prevent a throw to first to complete a double play -- Scutaro somehow did get off an accurate throw, although it was tardy to double up Allen Craig -- could be taken as quite inflammatory. Holliday's 235-pound bulk flies over, not through, the bag into the legs of the 185-pound Scutaro. "All of a sudden I saw this train coming," Scutaro said of the instant after gloving shortstop Brandon Crawford's feed. "I didn't have time to do anything. As soon as I caught the ball he was pretty much on top of me. I don't know how I threw the ball to first. But I think I did, right?" There was curiosity about whether Giants players might change the tactful tone of their postgame comments after seeing the replay. But there was no next-day outcry because, as it turned out, every player approached indicated already having seen the replay prior to talking to reporters on Monday night. Every player, that is, except one. "After I saw the replay ... he's a guy who always plays hard," said Scutaro, after having joined the Giants' brief evening workout in Busch Stadium. "He just kind of slid a little late but I guess he wasn't trying to do that. He was coming full speed. To be honest, I'm just happy nothing really bad happened and I'll be able to probably play [Wednesday]." If his strained left hip prevents that, Ryan Theriot will remain at second for the Giants. Scutaro's "late but ..." comment was in line with what his teammates had said on Monday night and stuck with Tuesday. "I know Matt Holliday very, very well," said reliever Jeremy Affeldt, a former teammate in Colorado. "He is a good friend of mine. And I will tell you he is not a malicious person. But when we saw the takeout, you're like, 'Matt, you know, that's a little aggressive.' He's a hard competitor, and that's probably why he slid so hard. He slid late, and that's unfortunate." Hard is good, everyone would concur. Illegal is not good, Bochy would maintain. "You want the guys to play hard," he said. "You play the game hard. You play it right. You just hope that when the guys are playing hard, that it's within the rules. I don't think there was intent, to be honest, hurting somebody. But it was late. Marco was behind the bag, [Holliday] really didn't hit dirt until he got behind the base. It's a case where I know they're playing hard and we're playing hard. But I do think that's an illegal slide." Holliday himself asserted anew, "I'm not a dirty player." "I wish I had started my slide a hair earlier, a step earlier," the St. Louis outfielder added. "But when you're out there in the heat of the moment, you're trying to make sure he doesn't complete the double play. I play hard and try to take out the double play. That's really all it comes down to. People can say whatever they want. I hope he's OK." Holliday had attempted to clarify that soon after Monday's game, trying to call but not reaching Scutaro, who was already undergoing an MRI. "That was kind of nice, to hear from him. After he tried to kick my butt," Scutaro said, eliciting laughter from all around.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.