Bengie Molina Slow to Home, but Quickly Takes ESPN to Task for “Humiliating” Coverage

This isn’t specifically Midwest-related, but I found it to be pretty interesting.

Bengie Molina, the catcher for the San Francisco Giants, wrote a blog post yesterday at his Behind the Mask blog taking ESPN to task for mocking his slow running. (Note: I didn’t see this section of SportsCenter, so I’m going off of how Molina described the segment.)

Essentially, Molina calls out ESPN for sophomorically making fun of his Konerko-like speed around the basepaths and ignoring other aspects of the game like a strong start by Matt Cain and Nate Schierholtz’s first home run of the season.

I’ve ruminated on this for a good 30-45 minutes now since first reading it and have come to the following “conclusion”: I sympathize with your point Bengie, but dude, get a sense of humor.

bengie-molinaHere is an excerpt from Molina’s post:

Until recently, I had thought of ESPN as a network run by professionals who know sports. I thought the people at ESPN, because they focus only on sports, actually understood the game and what pro athletes do to reach the highest level of their sport.

Look, you can say I’m the slowest guy in baseball or in  all of sports or in the entire world. I don’t take issue with that because I AM the slowest guy. I have always been the slowest guy. I can’t challenge that criticism. But ESPN’s intention was not to criticize but to humiliate.

As our regular readers (both of them) know, I am rarely quick to defend ESPN or say anything nice about them. In fact, I abhor a lot of what I see at ESPN now; case in point: the unnecessary and always ill-timed LeBron-to-NY obsession.

But in this case, I just can’t jump on the bash ESPN bandwagon.

Part of the reason why, admittedly, is probably self-serving. I engage in a lot of sports figure mockery here on MSF so it would be highly disingenuous of me to call out ESPN for something similar. We always try to not to go over any of the nebulously defined lines of good taste (unless, of course, it involves ARod, Purdue, the Cubs, or Jay Mariotti, in which case good taste can be damned) and we mock ourselves just as much as we mock sports figures.

And this is where I think ESPN can stand on relatively strong footing.

Bengie Molina makes it sound like ESPN is vicious and purposefully wants to humiliate he and his fellow athletes. I don’t think this is true at all. ESPN simply wants to entertain. Clearly this is both a strength and a weakness for the WWL, and you can argue whether they balance entertainment and pure sports coverage well; however, I don’t think accusing them of malevolent intentions is really warranted.

While they will show a slow-as-molasses runner like Bengie Molina with “Chariots of Fire” playing in the background (which is funny, if you have a sense of humor), they also mock themselves in their always entertaining commercials. ESPN certainly takes itself too seriously in a lot of ways, but their commercials and the self-deprecation that we often hear from their hosts at least makes them an equal opportunity mocker.

I don’t really have a problem with it.

Someone else who obviously does have a problem with it is Henry Schulman, who writes the Giants Splash blog for SFGate.com. I’ve never met Schulman and I know nothing about him. After reading his article though, my first thought was to wonder when the last time he laughed might have been.

Here is an excerpt from Schulman’s post on ESPN’s “inexcusable” mocking of Bengie Molina:

…or a network that considers itself the worldwide leader, that is a partner of Major League Baseball, such a showing was inexcusable.

The media don’t have to like certain players. They can criticize players, but to show that kind of disrespect to a player such as Molina, who has been a Major League catcher for more than 12 seasons, who owns a World Series ring, who shepherds what might be the best starting rotation in baseball, is beyond belief.

My goodness. I’m beginning to think ESPN would have been better off showing an image of the prophet Muhammad.

Bengie Molina is obviously entitled to his opinion, and I applaud him for doing what many athletes will not do: candidly express it in a forum that reaches fans. I understand why he’s upset and frustrated with ESPN, I just don’t share his viewpoint.

Yes, baseball is a business, but at its heart, baseball is a game. And games are meant to be fun. A little good natured ribbing – I think it was good natured, you may disagree, as Molina and Schulman obviously did – about a notoriously slow guy’s speed is fun for the majority of fans. In fact, I think it helps Joe Six-Pack, like me, relate to a guy like Molina and even appreciate what he has accomplished on the field more.

But I’m just one person with one opinion. What do you think? Was ESPN over line the having some fun/mocking Bengie Molina’s speed? Do blogs like MSF go overboard in the same way? Sound off below.

Update: A reader on Digg posted a link to the YouTube video. Here is the segment in question. It doesn’t change my opinion at all. The slow clap thing at the end is just kind of dumb, but more humiliating for the fool clapping than Molina.

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* – Bengie Molina photo credit: Flickr.com



About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. The fact that an "athlete" is complaining because ESPN mocked his obvious (and admitted) poor physique is ludicrous. It's like an oil company executive complaining of criticism that his company didn't have a plan to control an oil spill. Oh wait…

  2. This was actually generic running music, not in fact Chariots of Fire.

  3. Note to Bengie: Lighten up, Francis

  4. Matthew Middleton says:

    I'd say lighten up, but the "let's give him a slow clap for just making the effort" was a little much.

  5. francis says:

    If this were pattern of picking on Bengie, I'd be more sympathetic, but I agree w/ you, that this is ESPN spicing up a run-of-the-mill baseball highlight, the likes fo which we'll see over 2,000 times in a given season.

    Now, any of you A-holes touches my stuff, and I'll kill ya….

  6. francis says:

    True, it is not CoF, but it is clearly supposed to sound like CoF, so I wouldn't go so far as to call it generic. ESPN probably just didn't want to license the song for this throwaway riff on Molina.

  7. Mustard says:

    Advice: Watch, read, hear something before writing about it.

    The fact you could write a lengthy commentary without having seen the clip says a lot about how you form your opinions.

    • Actually, what it says is that the specifics really were irrelevant. I read what Molina and the SF Gate writer had to say, which I assumed gave the worst possible description of what actually happened. That is what I was responding to. And regardless of the specifics, it wasn't going to change the general point I was making. (And, for the record, video of every event that warrants comment is not always immediately available. As you can see above, I later found the video and posted, so it isn't like I deemed it irrelevant.) Had watching the video to form the opinion been necessary, I would have. In this case it wasn't.

      That said, I have no problem with someone honestly calling me out if they think I'm wrong, so thanks for visiting and commenting. I do appreciate it, and hopefully we'll see you again on the site soon.

  8. I must have missed them rippin on Molina. Bengie needs to get traded to Boston or NY and that way he could crawl around the basepaths naked with a potato shoved up his hind end and they'll call him one of the greatest players ever. As long as ESPN has the Yankees and the Red Sox, no other team really matters to them.

  9. You are right, but it was certainly made to sound like Chariots of Fire.

  10. Wow, suck it up Molina. It was a joke.

    Just for fun I decided to load up one of those online BMI calculators. Molina is 5'11" and 225 pounds according to MLB.com. This calculator says he has a 31.4 BMI, which puts him in the obese range.

    If you are an "athlete" and you're obese.. well.. prepare to be made fun of.

  11. Bengie Molina is one of the classiest players in the NBL. Sure he's slow, but he catches arguably the best pitching rotation in the majors, and he deserves some respect, not humiliation from guys who can't play the game. Also, my biggest problem with this clip is that this humiliating cheap shot WAS THE ONLY THING SHOWN from that whole game. That game gave the Giants the best record in the NL, which is of great significance everywhere in the baseball world besides the biased, shameless ESPN headquarters. Watching that channel, I feel my brain functions seriously deteriorate. I will never watch that junk for the impaired again.

  12. ESPNhater says:

    I thought the sportscasters in the clip showed no class.
    There is fun, there is good-natured ribbing, but this display was utterly rude and embarrassing for the network.

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