ST. PETERSBURG -- At about 4:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, a few hours before the Rays and Cardinals opened their two-game series at Tropicana Field, St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina stood on his dugout steps. He leaned on the railing and looked out toward center field, where his 5-year-old son was stretching with his brother, Jose, and the rest of the Tampa Bay players.
"Right now, he's having a blast," said Molina -- who is staying with Jose during his trip to St. Petersburg -- as the one red shirt bobbed back and forth among the Rays' light blues. "He loves baseball, he loves to be around players, he watches highlights every day and every night. Just to be here with his uncle, it's a great time for him."
Yadier, a five-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove winner, is the youngest of the three Molina brothers, at age 33. Jose, who catches for the Rays (all the Molinas are catchers by trade), is likely toward the tail end of a long career, having turned 39 on June 3. (Bengie, who is almost 40, is retired, and coaches first base for the Rangers.)
"It's always fun, it's always good to see him, and I'm always happy to have him on the same field that I am," Jose Molina said. "And I just want to go out and try to beat him."
Yadier, on the other hand, said it's weird to have two Molinas in one stadium -- but nice for the family and their friends.
"It's always weird, you know, because you want him to do good, too, and you want to win games," Yadier said. "You want him to do good, but at the same time you want him to do not that good."
Yadier and Jose have only faced off a few times in their careers, as Yadier plays in the National League and Jose in the American, and they might not have the chance to play against each other much longer.
"I don't like to think about that," Yadier said. "I'm just happy to be around, to face him."
After all, it's been a long time since Yadier came into the league, and even longer since Jose and Bengie did. Yadier isn't quick to forget that when he was drafted in 2000, he had the benefit of having two older brothers already ahead of him, further along the same path and ready to show him the way.
Jose, looking back, said that while he was of course ready to show Yadier he could, only Yadier could tell you how much of an impact he actually had.
"I tried to help him all the time, and whether I helped a lot, or less, that's his thing," Jose said. "You know, he has to answer that."
Yadier was glad to. He ran through a list of lessons his brothers had taught him: Stay calm. Be patient. Just play hard. Play the game the right way.
"You know, I was blessed to have those guys, Bengie and Jose," Yadier said.
Jose is pretty happy for Yadier himself.
"You can't imagine -- I'm really proud of him, just being where he's at at this point of his life. I'm just proud of him," Jose said.
After all, a decade after Yadier made his Major League debut and 15 years after Jose made his, things have worked out pretty well for both of them.
"We work hard, you know," Yadier said. "We work hard, Bengie, Jose and I. We worked hard to be here and play to where we are right now. It didn't come by itself. We had to earn it."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less