One of the only baseball blogs (to my knowledge) in the blogosphere that focuses on the Montreal Expos. Okay, mostly baseball in general, however with Montreal Expos references to be found within!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NHL Winter Classic 2010 at Fenway Park

This year's Winter Classic (hockey game played outdoors) is at Fenway Park. The Boston Bruins will host the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Boston Bruins, founded in 1924, became the first American NHL team. They entered the league alongside the Montreal Maroons. The NHL having been founded November 26, 1917.

The Philadelphia Flyers were founded much later, in 1967. They were part of the six team expansion of that year that saw the number of teams grow from six (Original Six) to twelve. The Original Six era lasted from 1942.

Of the six expansion teams (California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and St. Louis Blues) only two no longer exist in their original form, California, and Minnesota. And only California no longer exist period. They moved to Cleveland for two seasons in 1976, as the Cleveland Barons, and folded in 1978 merging with Minnesota.

Boston has five Stanley Cups, the first being in 1929, and the most recent being 1972.

Philadelphia has two Stanley Cup championships under their belts, back to back in 1974, 1975.

Not quite the history of last year's game. Well, at least half of the participating teams. Then again, better than the first Winter Classic in 2008 (Pittsburgh, 1967 at Buffalo, 1970). Also, comparable to the Heritage Classic in 2003, that saw the Montreal Canadiens, founded 1909, visit the Edmonton Oilers, founded 1972.

The Boston Bruins will be sporting jerseys from the 1948-49 season (top half of picture). The only season they used the rounded B. However since those jerseys are white, and dark jerseys are the home jerseys, they will be wearing them as home jerseys, with the Boston gold colour added.

The Flyers will be sporting what appears to be 1971 to 1977 home jerseys (again top half of picture). Which works now, as white jerseys are the away jerseys.

This years advertisement for the game has nothing on last year's. Don't get me wrong, it is still good, going back to hockey's roots. And I do like the Green Monster in hockey context. However being able to use "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in a hockey commercial is priceless. And hey, it was at Wrigley Field!

Judge for yourself, this year's and last year's.

See also:

Bruins, Flyers unveil NHL Winter Classic jerseys (for much more information)


The Hockey Wing Has Spoken (For more pictures and notes. A few paragraphs down under "Ghosts of Christmas Present")

Thanks to The Hockey Uniform Database and Chris Creamer's Sports Logos for the images.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Flight of the Molina's

This post has been in my head for a while, so since it is the offseason, there is plenty of time for various posts.

Oldest brother Bengie was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico (July 20, 1974), while José and Yadier were both born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico (José: June 5, 1975, Yadier: July 13, 1982). Making the older two, Bengie 35, and José 34, while younger brother Yadier is 27)

I may as well just list how they got to where they are now.

Benjamin José "Bengie" Molina: Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the California Angels in 1993.

José Benjamin Molina Matta: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 14th round in 1993. 390th overall, from Ladislao Martinez High School (Vega Alta, Puerto Rico).

Yadier B. Molina: Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 4th round in 2000. 113 overall, Maestro Ladi (Vega Alta, Puerto Rico).

MLB Debuts:

Bengie: September 21, 1998
José: September 6, 1999
Yadier: June 3, 2004

Bengie worked his way up the minors from 1993 to 1998. He played Triple-A ball in 1995 only for one game and two at bats. He did not reach Triple-A again until 1998. Both were with Triple-A Vancouver. He also played Triple-A in 1999 for Edmonton.

From 1998 to 2005 he was with the Anaheim Angels/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Even if 1998 he only had two games with 1 AB.

He was Signed as a free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays in February 2006. That did not last long as in December he was signed as a free agent by the San Francisco Giants. He has been in San Francisco as the starting catcher since the 2007 season.

José, in the year of his MLB debut, 1999, had 10 games making for 19 AB for the Chicago Cubs. in those 10 AB he went 5 for 19, with one 2B, and 2 BB.

He remained with the Cubs organisation, playing for Triple-A Iowa in 2000 (76 games).
January 2001, he signed as a free agent by the Angels of Anaheim. José stayed with Anaheim/L.A from 2001 until 2007. Although in 2001 he only had 15 games making for 37 AB. During which time he hit .270. All of his time with the Angels he was pretty much the backup catcher.

July 21, 2007, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traded José Molina to the New York Yankees for Jeff Kennard. In 2008 with the Yankees he was finally the starting catcher, or at least based on games played. This year he backed up Jorge Posada, playing in 52 games, starting 42.

Yadier is the easiest of the three brothers, as he has spent his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals organisation.

In 2001 he played 44 games for 158 AB. His BA was .259. This was with the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League. They play Rookie League ball. From 2002 to 2004 he spent each season moving up the ladder, 2002 with A Peoria, 2003 with Double-A Tennessee, and 2004 with Memphis. 2004 also saw his MLB debut as noted above. In 2004 he played 37 games with Memphis, and 51 with the Cardinals, starting 39. currently shows Bengie listed at 5'11", 225 lbs. José at 6'2" 235. And Yadier at 5'11" 230. All three bat and throw right.

Bengie and José are currently free agents. Yadier will be starting year three of a four year deal which is set to end after the 2011 season.

Some stats:

Bengie: 1244 G, .276 BA, 32 CS%, 74 PB, .059 PB%

José: 554 G, .235 BA, 40 CS%, 32 PB, .057 PB%

Yadier: 669, .269 BA, 46 CS%, 35 PB, .052 PB%

Bengie has two Gold Gloves, back to back in 2002 and 2003. As does Yadier however in 2008 and this year, 2009.

I think that about summarises everything well. The reason I thought of this post was so I would not confuse them. Moreso with Bengie and José. I have also learned Yadier has the potential to be an elite catcher, as he is probably already on the way. Bengie is a quality starter, and José is a quality backup catcher.

Random stat, Bengie is the only one of the three who had not played another defensive position besides catcher (he has been DH several times). José has 13 games at 1B, starting one, and one game at 3B. Yadier has 14 games at 1B, starting one as well. José has only been the DH 6 times, while Yadier has only once been the DH.