Spander: Giants win this round against NY 

It’s usually the Giants or A’s who are left standing with their mouths open and checkbooks closed. Especially when a team from New York is involved.

That’s why re-signing Bengie Molina was of itself a small triumph. The guy can barely hobble down to first base. We know that.

We also know he’s been an integral part of a Giants team with great pitching and infrequent punch.

And he was coveted by the Mets, who most assuredly with their bankroll and desperation to compete in the media with the Yankees were going to get him — which would have left San Francisco with that kid Buster Posey catching.

But Bengie’s coming home, for another year at least. And the scribes in Manhattan town can’t figure it out.

“Molina Rebuffs Mets to Re-Sign With Giants,” was the headline in the daily that gives us all the news fit to print, even scandalous tales about Tiger Woods.

The New York Post was confused about Molina’s confusion. “Molina doesn’t understand why the Mets didn’t sign him,” the Post posted. Or maybe it was the Post that was confused, implying Bengie “sure sounds like he would have come to New York given a chance.”

He was given a chance. He decided the Giants are more likely to make the playoffs than the Mets, and yes, who would have dreamt that a year ago?

Blasphemy on the Hudson. Intrigue by the Golden Gate.

Molina, who will be 36 in the middle of the season, is slower than any of your friends reaching for a bar tab because of those leg problems. But there’s this thing called intangibles, a quality which doesn’t show in many statistics.

The Giants are better because Molina is on their squad. The other players understood that well enough to vote him the Willie Mac Award for spirit and sportsmanship in both 2007 and 2008. They respect Bengie Molina. They admire Bengie Molina.

So do the patrons at AT&T. Molina bridged the gap between Barry Bonds and Pablo Sandoval. His defense, which used to be superb, is adequate. He understands how to call a game for Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and the rest of a staff that is the strength of the Giants.

Bengie isn’t Joe Mauer. He’s Bengie Molina, consistent, dependable and (no less significant) happy to be back with a team that tried to get Pudge Rodriquez and almost ended up with nothing — Posey is a rookie, remember — as the Mets temporarily have nothing.

Stability has an important place in sports. The carpetbaggers get a great deal of attention, but the best organizations are those which identify the winners and keep them. When players know their achievements are appreciated and rewarded, they find satisfaction.

“It is my understanding,” Omar Minaya, the Mets general manager told the New York Times about Molina, “that he liked their deal better and felt more comfortable there.”

Someone finally chose the Giants over the Mets. It always seems to happen the other way around.

“He’s certainly welcomed back with open arms,” Brian Sabean, the Giants general manger said. “Just an interesting twist of fate ... there wasn’t another offensive catcher out there.”

There didn’t need to be. The Giants win this one, the Mets lose.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and E-mail him at

About The Author

Art Spander

Art Spander

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and Email him at
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