Tom Selleck joked about it in Mr. Baseball, as a washed-up American ball player in Japan (easily 1992's funniest fish-out-of-water baseball movie starring a mustache). And in that movie, Selleck bowling over his Japanese counterparts represented the aggressive, disrespectful, violent way American's play their own game.
Yesterday Mike Berardino reported how sorry Coghlan is about the whole thing. The writer even makes a point of calling the slide a "clean, yet season-ending blow." And the league still hasn't and almost certainly won't punish Coghlan.
But that doesn't make it right either. And I'm not blaming Coghlan completely, if he didn't make that slide, he'd catch hell back in the dugout. If it happened more than once he'd be written off as "not a team player."
This is probably the stupidest tradition in the sport--matched only by pitcher retaliation perhaps. Coghlan was nowhere near the bag when he made contact with Iwamura's knee and ankle. Nobody would have blamed Iwamura if he had thrown the ball at Coghlan's face right then and there.
Sliding into a healthy man's knee as he throws a ball isn't playing tough. It isn't making a great play. And it isn't good for any sport. Ask Tom Brady. Ask Carson Palmer.