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Puerto Rico Could Get 20 Expos Games… Bengie Caught On In Big Way… De La Hoya, Trinidad May Rematch

Puerto Rico Might Host 18 To 20 Expos Games

By Mark Asher

October 31, 2002
Copyright © 2002 The Washington Post Company. All rights reserved. 

Major League Baseball hopes to complete a deal in which Puerto Rican officials would guarantee about $300,000 a game for the MLB-owned Montreal Expos to play 18 to 20 "home" games in San Juan next season, sources familiar with the situation said yesterday.

MLB officials were seeking about $5.4 million for 18 games and $6 million for 20 games. A source also said it is possible the Expos would also play a few games in Portland, Ore. No formal action on the Expos' schedule is expected until an owners meeting next month, at which time the source indicated that the owners would begin to focus on the permanent relocation of the Expos for the 2004 season. MLB spokesman Richard Levin said a date for the meeting has not been announced.

An MLB official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the commissioner's office is "leaning toward" the 20-game scenario in either two 10-game series or three shorter series. Another source said Puerto Rican officials have sought to play three weeklong series -- one in April, one in May and a third in August.

Efforts to reach Puerto Rican officials last night were unsuccessful.

The games would be played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, which has a seating capacity of about 20,000 and was renovated prior to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers opening the 2001 American League season there. The game drew 19,981 fans, some paying as much as $75 per ticket.

The Major League Baseball Players Association must approve any schedule changes.

Commissioner Bud Selig said in January that the Washington area is "the prime candidate" for relocation, but Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos opposes placing a franchise in either the District or Northern Virginia. If MLB relocates to the Washington area, a team would play its games at a refurbished RFK Stadium until a permanent ballpark is built.

Bengie Caught On In Big Way


October 28, 2002
Copyright © 2002 New York Post. All rights reserved. 


Angels catcher Bengie Molina rushing to join reliever Troy Percival after getting the final out to beat the Giants in Game 7 of the World Series.

PHOTO: Associated Press


ANAHEIM - Slugging third baseman Troy Glaus was the MVP of the World Series. The MUP - Most Unsung Player - had to be the Angels' durable and reliable catcher, Bengie Molina.

Often overlooked in a cast of bigger names with higher profiles, the older half of the Angels' all-Molina catching team had a night to remember in Game 7.

Molina gave Anaheim its first run with an RBI double off Livan Hernandez in the second inning, doubled again in the sixth and put down all the right fingers for John Lackey, Brendan Donnelly, Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival.

"I'm still dreaming," Bengie said, his kid brother, Jose, nearby, hugging family members in the wild post-victory celebration on the Edison Field diamond.

"I'll read the paper in the morning and make sure it all really happened."

It happened, all right. Molina was the Angels' rock behind the plate all season, and nobody is more appreciate of his efforts and commitment than his manager.

"Bengie's as good as they come," said Mike Scioscia, the former receiver who tutored and nurtured Molina the past three seasons.

"I wake up every morning and thank God that he came into my life in 2000," Bengie said of Scioscia. "He gave me the chance, and the confidence. He wanted me to take my best shot at it, and I did. I didn't want to let him down. I wanted to show him I was worthy of his confidence."

No Angel took losses more personally than the burly receiver from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, whose father recently was named to his country's baseball Hall of Fame.

After Anaheim lost Game 4 in San Francisco, Molina blamed himself for a passed ball on a Rodriguez pitch that set up the Giants' winning run in the eighth inning on David Bell's single.

"That's Bengie, always being the stand-up guy," said starter Kevin Appier, the ex-Met who left New York in the Mo Vaughn swap last winter and is a champion now. "He didn't have to take the blame, and he shouldn't have, but that's who he is.

"He's always going to take responsibility. He's a little hard on himself at times, but that's because he wants to win so bad."

De La Hoya, Trinidad May Rematch

October 24, 2002
Copyright © 2002 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

MIAMI (AP) -- Felix Trinidad has said yes to Oscar De La Hoya -- for dinner.

De La Hoya, the reigning WBC-WBA super-welterweight champion, said Trinidad has accepted an invitation to meet in Puerto Rico over dinner. De La Hoya hopes Trinidad, who announced his retirement in July, will agree to a rematch.

``We finally made contact,'' De La Hoya said Thursday. ``He has accepted a dinner, which is a good sign.''

De La Hoya lives part-time in Puerto Rico with his wife, singer Millie Corretje. He said Corretje's grandparents persuaded Trinidad to meet with De La Hoya.

``I don't want to pressure him on anything,'' De La Hoya said. ``It's just a simple dinner and get answers from him.''

In their first bout three years ago, Trinidad scored a disputed split decision.

``I want to hear it from his mouth,'' De La Hoya said. ``If he is retired, then I will believe him and announce it to the world, `Hey, he's retired.' I have to slowly but surely talk him into it and convince him.''

If Trinidad agrees to fight again, De La Hoya would like to schedule it for May or September. De La Hoya (35-2, 28 KOs) is coming off an 11th-round TKO of Fernando Vargas on Sept. 14.

``These fights, including the Vargas fight, are the defining moments of my career,'' said De La Hoya, who has won world titles in five weight classes. ``I want to make them worthwhile and really fight hard, to end my career on top.''

De La Hoya has other attractive options if Trinidad stays retired. He has mentioned a rematch with former lightweight and welterweight champion Shane Mosley, who defeated De La Hoya in 2000, or bouts with WBC welterweight champion Vernon Forrest, IBF junior-middleweight titleholder Ronald ``Winky'' Wright and middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins.

``There are still some good fights out there for me,'' De La Hoya said. ``It's definitely going to be a top fight because these are the last fights I'm going to have.''

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