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Oct 22, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro (19) holds the MVP trophy after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 in game seven of the 2012 NLCS to advance to the world series at AT

Birdinals Bytes: Brawl by the Bay?

Giants fans have not forgotten Matt Holliday’s slide that left Marco Scutaro in shambles, actually, he was fine and went on to win the 2012 NLCS MVP. On Friday the Cardinals will return to San Francisco where emotions have stewed for the past few months. Nevertheless, there is still a genuine possibility that things will escalate if and when Giants pitchers retaliate.

Before the examination of probabilities begins, the history between these two storied ball clubs can explain what to expect.

In 1988 Jose Oquendo and Ozzie Smith threw down (link to video) with Will Clark after he had a dirty slide into second base at Busch II. The Wizard got the worst of it when Candy Maldanado cold-cocked him, but Clark got his as well. That was the result of an old National League rivalry (NL East and West), which illustrated the Giants players’ sourness toward a team with pennants. The term “Cow Town” still stings today.

Also, during the Tony LaRussa years, the Cardinals chief clashed with then Giants manager Dusty Baker, and hostility was omnipresent in their showdowns.

Now that the Giants have established themselves as a club that knows how to win, their rivalry with another powerful squad, the Cards, is heating up. The question is, how hot is it? Is it boiling over which could result in fists of fury? We won’t know for a few days, but it is exciting just to imagine because of all of the imaginable scenarios.

One other fact before the options are scrutinized, Bruce Bochy opted not to repay Matt Holliday with a plunking in games 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 of the NLCS. Also, none of the pitchers for San Francisco showed vengeance either. Is that because the issue (legal) was caput and they moved on? Or is that because they are terrified of a behemoth of a man who is the definition of “brick sh*t house”. Lets remember, Matt Holiday dwarfed Albert Pujols.

Giants Possible Actions:
1. Barry Zito (Friday’s starter), Ryan Vogelsong (Saturday’s starter) or Matt Cain (Sunday’s starter) will follow orders or take it upon himself to bean Matt Holliday in an attempt to attain redemption.
2. The Giants choose take the high road, like last October, and let what is part of the game and within the rules slide by. After all it is opening weekend at AT&T Park where there will be lots of positive energy and children filling up the pricey seats.

Cardinals Reactions to #1 above:
1. Take it like men and possibly get a Giants pitcher ejected while focusing on the win.
2. Punish a Giants hitter the next inning and see how they like it.
3. Charge the mound and humiliate their team with by body slamming whomever is on the hill. Notice there is no concern about scrawny Buster Posey stopping Holliday’s from reaching the mound.

Regardless of the outcome and all the possible fireworks, it is nice to have the potential for old fashioned basebrawl. Tonight’s rubber match is entertaining, but this weekend’s series is on another level.  Hopefully last season is in the past, but if it is not, St. Louis may present knuckle sandwiches for the not so burly San Francisco team.

Go Birdinals!

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