All I could think about was the fact that we were both 38 years old. Or maybe now, only one of us?
Wikipedia, the double-edged Diet Coke of the internet, just shot up to the top of my shit list.
Wednesday night, as I was driving around St. Louis delivering food, I was doing a patented Yadier Molina search, and clicked on his Wikipedia page. It’s something you quietly do and enjoy during an unsure offseason, even if the website is half-phony and soulless at times. Scrolling down, I saw a plot twist that was too 2020–even for 2020.
The birth date and DEATH of Yadier Molina. I couldn’t believe it. There was no intention of believing it. I looked around for reports, tweets from colleagues, or any crumb of an idea. Was it true, or the product of some sick soul’s imagination? Denial settles in quick, and the credibility of the site has always been a status in questionable standing. Any website that allows ordinary people to edit history, or paint a wickedly tragic future, can’t be trusted as far as The Rock can be thrown. Forget it.
I posted it on my social media accounts to hopefully get answers. There’s no better way to ring a bell on the internet than showing your audience the evidence that will acquit you from the hot take stand. I showed them the screenshot I took of the website, and how shockingly appalled I was at the idea.
But there was truth burgeoning beneath the ridiculous. The details of the death listed on Wikipedia were a harrowing reminder for any St. Louis sports fan to acknowledge. Since Oscar Taveras perished (along with his girlfriend Edilia Arvelo) back in 2014 involving a drunk driving incident, any driving death sends shockwaves through the Lou. It stated that a drunk driver overran a red light and hit Molina’s car.
The age always gets me with the Cardinals catcher. We are both 38 years old, 1982 babies of the highest order (okay, at least one of us). Seeing the age at which he would have perished on underneath his picture was just a wild image. A futile one that bought up some real estate inside my head.
I wanted to punch 2020 harder. On the second to last day of the year, this despicable 365 day campaign was attempting one last stab. After taking Bob Gibson and Lou Brock, the trifecta was safely denied. It was almost as if the devil got too greedy moving towards second, and Molina picked him off. Okay, that was a little dramatic.
I then did what any smart husband would do in a situation involving panic: texted the wife. After exchanging emphatic WTF! emojis, we started digging. She couldn’t find anything, and my end was equally hopeless. After a little while, the Wikipedia page had refreshed, taking away the Molina death listing. Eventually, Two Birds on a Bird, a wonderful Twitter account and podcast led by the older Molina brother and Jim Cromer, put out a tweet that put everyone at ease.
Molina was in Puerto Rico, which happened to be where Wiki had said he perished. But he was well. Crisis averted. But a popular website was now a sworn enemy. I know this was simply a case of one asshat running amok on the web, but they need to change that rule. Don’t let anyone make up dangerous BS like that. Just skip it. Block that off. This Molina incident is a damaging incident, so I hope they learn from it.
It wasn’t my intention to try and be the one who broke the news. I couldn’t wait for it to be shot down. The last thing we-and I use that distinction here because we all have gotten our ass kicked this year in some way-need right now is to lose an icon like Molina. While his outspoken and unpredictable nature has soured recently with me, you can’t doubt his effect in this town. He’s a king, no matter which threads he wears in 2021. Note it.
I’m just glad he’s alive. Sounds too cinematic to be true, but there it read, on a real internet page on Wednesday night. One final round of chaos in 2020.
But there was a happy ending to this one. As absurd as this post and the whole ordeal was, take the wins wherever you get them this year.
Thanks for reading,