Last week ESPN ran a slow-motion clip of Bengie Molina getting thrown out at the plate in a Giants-Marlins game as, bascially, the game’s only highlight on that night’s SportsCenter. What’s more, they slowed the clip down and set it to music meant to evoke “Chariots of Fire,” mocking Molina’s lack of speed. As he was thrown out, the anchor yelled “get in there, slim!” You can see the video here.
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman took great offense at this, writing a blog post slamming ESPN for the lack of respect shown to Molina. Yesterday Molina weighed in himself, slamming ESPN for its “cheap shot” and, while acknowledging that he’s perhaps the slowest player in baseball, saying that “ESPN’s intention was not to criticize but to humiliate.”
Molina closes by saying “All I can do is play the way I always have – with respect and
professionalism. It’s shame that ESPN, a once great network, won’t have
any idea what I’m talking about.” It was a really well-done post, in my opinion, with Molina taking the high road while still making it clear that his feelings were hurt.
I take shots at players from time to time, and yes, I occasionally go a little too far, crossing the line that separates tough criticism and mockery. I try hard to avoid it and I’m not proud of myself when I do it, but it happens, often as a result of a misguided attempt at humor.
I’m guessing that’s what happened with ESPN here too. They do a zillion highlight reels a day, and you can’t blame them for wanting to go in a different direction with one for a change. I’m sure no one there had malice in their heart as they were putting it together, but the humor obviously fell flat, outweighed by mockery. It obviously hit Molina the wrong way.
They probably owe him an apology. In light of Molina’s blog post, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one came as early as this morning.