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Bengie Molina slams ESPN for humiliating highlight

Big League Stew

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He might not have a quarter of the speed of Rajai Davis(notes) on the basepaths, but Bengie Molina(notes) doesn't think that's a good reason for ESPN to get "a cheap laugh" by showing a particular replay of him rounding third and slowly heading toward home.

The San Francisco Giants catcher wrote a MLB.com blog post on Wednesday blasting "SportsCenter" for running a highlight of him being thrown out at home against the Marlins last week. The clip, which was first publicly criticized by beat writer Henry Schulman, showed Molina running in slow-motion while the "Chariots of Fire" theme played.

Molina — an 11-year pro's pro who doesn't exactly have the build of a modern-type catcher like Joe Mauer(notes) — is upset for a couple of reasons.

For one, his mother saw it and was upset once his brother Yadier explained to her what was being said.

For another, it was the only play shown from a Giants victory that, at the time, gave them the best record in the National League.

From Molina's Behind the Mask blog:

"In that Marlins game, which we won, Nate Schierholtz(notes) went three-for-three with his first home run of the season. Matt Cain(notes) pitched six innings of no-hit ball. And the one highlight ESPN shows of that game is me getting thrown out at home? And they're doing it just for laughs?

"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."

Molina doesn't really delve into ESPN's East Coast bias like some other West Coast players have in the past. But he says he'd like "the once great network" to "remember that players are actual people ... with wives and mothers and fathers and children and brothers and sisters."

As someone whose job description involves finding funny bits about baseball, I'll say that I always try to keep Molina's thought in mind. But our detachment at home means it's also often hard, and when you consider that baseball has always gotten a strange sense of enjoyment from its portlier stars — from Babe Ruth to Gaylord Perry to Prince Fielder(notes) — I'll admit to rarely thinking about a player's particular sensitivities in that area.

Was ESPN being intentionally malicious toward Molina here? I don't think so, considering slow runners have been a part of baseball blooper tapes as long as I've been watching them.

But I can also sympathize with Molina. When you're doing a lot of things right in baseball, it has to be hard when ESPN is only airing an unflattering image of you during a rare opportunity to get some national pub. He has a right to speak up.

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