Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes the most shocking thing you’ll read today: Bengie Molina was a shortstop in college.
It turns out that before Molina settled in for a career behind the plate, before he became the Sultan of Squat, he was a lithe and rangy shortstop for Arizona Western Community College.
Yes, that Bengie Molina. The player that manager Bruce Bochy has diplomatically described as “not being born with the gift of speed” first set out to make majors as the next Ozzie Smith. He had deft hands, a rifle arm and enough speed that he usually hit in the No. 2 hole. …
“He was really skinny,” [coach John] Stratton recalled. “He’s just turned 18. And he was not a slow base runner. He wasn’t a burner, but he was very athletic and a decent runner.” Molina went on to make all-conference at the position.
Baggarly goes on to tell the really interesting story of how Molina went from community college shortstop to big-league catcher thanks to “a lark” and his mom’s collection of newspaper clippings. Definitely worth checking out the entire article.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.