Unfortunately, Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood didn’t peg Matt Holliday in the last game of the Cubs’ series with the Cardinals. Wood flashed some leather on a ball off Holliday’s bat and made a game-saving 1-6-3 double play, so I guess we’ll have to settle for that.
I did not hide the fact I wanted to see someone nail Holliday. In fact, I wanted to see Dempster go out and just start hitting batters until the Cardinals came out of their dugout. What does this Cubs team have to lose? Holliday went into 2nd base late, 5 feet to the right of the bag and cleats up on the guy that is the future of our organization. The fact the Cubs didn’t show any retaliation at all, tells me that the not only is this team terrible, but they have no cojones. During the game, the ESPN guys were even saying that the slide was dirty and Dempster should plunk Holliday.
What is even more troubling about this situation is that the team’s willingness to sit on their hands could tell us more about the lack of support for Castro (or eachother in general), rather than a lack of toughness or pride.
When the play happened, Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez jumped to Castro’s defense and began arguing with the umpire. Well, according the video, Ramirez was arguing that the slide was illegal while Pena and Barney stood there. Quade came out and seemed to really take offense to Holliday’s cleats-up slide into
2nd Castro. Either that or he came out determined to get booted from the game. I think Quade’s reaction was sincere. He’s been in baseball long enough to know what is a “hard slide” and what is dangerous and dirty.
After the game, Castro did not change his tune and repeated that Holliday’s slide was dirty. Ramirez changed his tune, saying “That’s the right way to play the game.” Marlon Byrd seems to be the type of guy that would support his teammate in any situation. However, the morning after the incident, Byrd defended Matt Holliday on his blog.
So Cubs pitchers don’t go after Holliday and the team publicly supports the opposing player. This troubles me for a few different reasons. The obvious is that the team and clubhouse appear to be in shambles. There’s no support for each other and the boys in blue don’t even see themselves as allies. That would be easier for me to take than the next aspect of the situation. What concerns me is the lack of solidarity is being shown towards the future of our organization – the All-Star shortstop.
I’ve hoped that Castro wouldn’t let his early success go to his head. If you remember, when he came up in 2010, he lived with Soriano for a period of time. For good reason, that troubled a lot of Cubs fans. Castro could be here for a long time and I hope he goes down the right paths, but the fact that the players don’t seem to have his back concerns me.
This was a baseball crime and it was not retaliated in the traditional way – baseball to flesh. Here is what the Cardinals 3rd baseman, David Freese, had to say about the play:
“When you see a guy like Matt Holliday, one of our big guys, do something like that, it was the turning point in the game. And to see him do that gets you going a little bit.”
That is the difference between a team at the top of the division and a team at the bottom. A team at the top of the division supports their own players and uses these situations as motivation to strengthen their team. Then there’s how the Cubs handle it.