A menace only PitchF/X can stop. - Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE
I put before you two animated GIFs demonstrated the arcane catching arts of the Molina family. Which is more impressive?
The Molina family is so good at catching baseballs that the nature and nurture sides of the debate on human development will pause their tenure-track bickering long enough to watch this famous Yadier Molina GIF, in which he throws a ball that appears to be attracted to Skip Schumaker's glove by some kind of powerful electromagnet.
Among the catching Molinas Yadier is like the last step in the evolution of the Iron Man armor--he's got all the unique Molina strengths, and he combines them with a body that looks equally well-adapted to, say, walking up stairs or jogging out to his car in a cold parking lot. He's the best hitter, too.
Of late, though, Jose Molina, the forgotten brother, has earned his share of GIF and sabermetric fame for his apparently superhuman ability to frame pitches, which if you believe the strong version of the argument takes him from replacement-level backup to somewhere just south of Yadier Molina's MVP-caliber season in a season where his OPS+ was 80.
Jose Molina, All-Star catcher. Literally and exclusively because he can fool umpires. Watch him mind-nudge this pitch into his glove:
So: Two GIFs. One is spectacular on its face and the other, though it takes a little while to sink in, is insidiously brilliant in its own way. (My video of Bengie Molina trotting very slowly around the bases hasn't yet arrived, alas.) Which one gets your vote?
For me... it's complicated. I enjoy the Yadier GIF more, but I'm more fascinated by the Jose GIF, which suggests that there's something enormously important going on that we've been watching our whole lives without really noticing. It's like a perfectly executed plot twist in a movie about con artists.
But I also hate it. If Jose Molina can be 50 runs better than another catcher based on his ability to fool umpires, we need to replace the umpires with someone or something he can't fool, immediately. His skill is the 2012 equivalent of the fair-foul bunt, an exploitation of the existing rules that is both clever and awful to watch.
This post is sponsored by Jack in the Box.