I know, I know, I’m slow afoot. I’ve always been slow. I look like a greyhound but run like a turtle. Got it. I’m not the only one though. Just about every catcher ever to play the game is in the same boat. The simple fact is, if we could run, we probably wouldn’t be strapping the gear on in the first place.
Just ask Craig Biggio. He was a catcher, but he could fly. What did they do? They got him the hell out from behind the dish is what they did. Speed is a valuable commodity and never goes in a slump. Anyone who’s been around the game for two seconds knows that if a guy can boogie, he won’t for long if he’s in that crouch all the time. There’s something about that squat that just saps the speed right out of you.
On the other hand, if a guy can’t run, his options are severely limited. Especially if he doesn’t hit bombs or have a canon for an arm. For that guy (me) there’s exactly one option…catch. And so I view it as kind of a blessing. If I could’ve ran, I probably would never have put the gear on. And for me, the gear made (and continues to make) a lot of house payments.
That being said, it’s never a whole lot of fun when someone calls you out on your lack of speed. It’s kind of like having big ears or something and people keep making fun of you. You know you’ve got big ears, but do they have to keep pointing it out?
That’s why I really felt for Bengie Molina when ESPN did that stupid Chariots of Fire thing of him rounding third and getting hosed at home. I actually didn’t even watch it, someone told me about it. I refuse to watch. Yeah ESPN, we know Bengie’s slow. He’s a catcher for chrissakes!
I’ll admit this is a sore spot for me so maybe I don’t have the best perspective. But it seems like ESPN has gone a little over the line on this one. Not a lot, but definitely over the line. I’m sure the clip was funny, but going out of their way to make a special segment which makes fun of a player? Why? Isn’t that the arena of Saturday Night Live? It just seems like a cheap shot and not cool for me. Especially not cool for an ex- catcher when they’re making fun of my peoples.
Apparently Bengie didn’t dig it too much either. He eloquently shot back through his MLB blog. Here’s a slice…“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.” For his whole article click here.
I loved it. I always liked him before, but I really like him now. Thanks Bengie for articulating (without whining or defending) what it’s like to be chronically one step behind. Till next time, take it slow.