Friday, April 11, 2008

Daily Cheesemongers: Los Hermanos Molina

Los tres Molina brothers--Bengie, Yadier, and Jose--are all Major League catchers. I find that impressive. Not only are three brothers professional athletes, not only are they professional athletes in the same sport, not only are they professional athletes in the same sport in the highest level of competition, they are all professional athletes in the same sport in the highest level of competition at the same position on the field. That's right, all three hermanos are catchers.

Sin embargo, los tres receptores have experienced significantly different levels of playing success despite their equal status in the majors. Bengie, while an excellent defensive catcher, is a little bit on the old side. His prowess at the plate, whilst not terrible by any measure (career batting average of .275), is marked by his record-shattering, humanly-impossible slowness. If you switch onto a Giants broadcast at any point during this season and you happen to catch a shot of Bengie Molina on the basepath, you will almost certainly think you have stumbled upon a rerun of the 1996 Special Olympics. Here's Bengie working hard to field a bunt.

Yadier, meanwhile, is easily the most heralded, talented, and least cement-assed of Los Hermanos Molina. At age 25, he is only the third catcher ever to play in two World Series before turning the quarter-century, being preceded in that category by Hall-of-Famers and best-catchers-ever Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra. Yadier is also considered one of the smartest catchers in the game. While all catchers relay signals to the pitcher, most do so at the behest of the pitching coach and/or manager. Not all catchers have the responsibility of calling their pitchers' pitches. Yadier, however, calls over 75% of Cardinals pitches during a game according to pitching coach Dave "Doughnuts" Duncan. Here's Yadier mashing a home run for St. Louis.

And here's Jose.