May 14, Denver – Whenever a series begins in the big leagues, the clubhouses are busy with meetings on how to stop opposing pitchers and hitters. When teams prepare to face the San Francisco Giants, who do you think a majority of the attention is given to? I need not even say, and I am pretty sure it is not Bengie Molina. Yet over the last four-plus seasons, the Gold Glove catcher is a .308 hitter with runners in scoring position. Overlooking Bengie is fine by him as you will see in part of this conversation.
Bengie: It has been an uphill battle for me. When I signed all that I was looking for was a box of sneakers, I wasn’t looking for any kind of money. I wanted to show them and to prove to myself that I could do it. It seemed like there were five or six guys in front of me every single year, so I had to keep busting my butt and bugging all these coaches. I was hoping to be a backup or bullpen catcher in the big leagues and look what happened. I still feel like I have to prove myself every single day. I’m not even close to arriving and it’s like a marathon.
B: I think without him and my mom, we wouldn’t be here sitting down talking. My dad sacrificed his whole life, my mom was pregnant when he had a chance to sign pro with Milwaukee and he didn’t take his chance to go just because I was in my mom’s belly. That says a whole lot for me and my brother, for whom he sacrificed his whole life. He would go early to work and then when he came from work, everyday we’d have practice and on Saturday and Sunday we’d have games. The amazing thing is that I never heard him complain once about having to go practice, or any responsibilities that went along with raising all of us.
D: Was 2002 special beyond belief because you actually shared it with your brother?
B: I get very emotional when I really stop to think about it, because I love Jose to death and I wish we could spend the rest of our live playing together on the same team. Just knowing that he was right there next to you, where we talk baseball all the time is the best. We’ll talk about how to get other people out and how to hit all sorts of pitchers. I hope in the end we have the opportunity to play together again.
D: Then last year, Yadier joined the ring brothers.
B: Once the little one won that World Series, it was amazing. I was lucky, he loved the way I helped him, he called me after the first two games with the Mets and he said, ‘Hey man you faced Delgado a lot. How in the world did you get him out? He’s killing us.’ Just to see him jumping around the bases and enjoying the moment, it is an amazing feeling. I remember him as a little boy and don’t always see him as grown up as he is now.
D: Mike Scioscia was your first manager and a hard nosed catcher when he played. How much did you learn from him?
B: The first two years he was very active with me. At first we’d talk almost every day about what I did and what I could have done in every situation. Literally anything he had in his head about catching he would share with me. The next years we didn’t talk as much, I think he had a very good feeling that I got it and that I understood what he meant. Yet I could ask him a question about whatever I wanted to at any time. We had great communication over there.
D: We spoke of her a bit earlier, but what fond memories do you have of your mom Gladys?
B: Mom is the one who really had the baseball in her blood, it’s like she was born to be a man. She loves the game so much. She will watch every single pitch in the game and she can tell you if you are pulling off or if you didn’t do the job done by getting the guy over. She knows a bunch of stuff that many moms probably don’t or might not say. That’s how intense she is, baseball is her life, and she’ll fight with the umpires. If my dad played a great role in our careers, then my mom did probably twice as much. She is amazing and I love her to death.
That’s a perfect answer to share on the day after Mother’s Day. Have a good week everyone.