Reyes: Flashing the Leather

Logo for Flashing the Leather column. - Graphic / Spencer Reyes

The New Ironman is Suiting Up 

Having a long career doesn’t only take skill, it means taking care of your body as well. Athletes are often commended for staying healthy for so long or being able to play through injuries. It really raises your stock as a player if you can last for longer periods of time.

Insert 35-year-old right winger Phil Kessel, the definition of longevity. The fifth overall draft pick from 2006 is currently in his 17th year in the NHL. He has not missed a professional hockey game since Halloween of 2009, and on Monday night will have the chance to tie Keith Yandle’s record for the longest consecutive number of games played, 989. 

Kessel is on his fifth team after being drafted by the Boston Bruins, where he started getting playing time immediately following the draft. After three seasons with Boston, he was traded to the Maple Leafs where he called Toronto home for six years until he was traded again to Pittsburgh. The Wisconsin native played in the Penguins uniform for four years before being traded to Arizona, where he spent the last three seasons, before signing a one-year, $1.5M deal with the Vegas Golden Knights.

The former Minnesota Golden Gopher won the Bill Masterson Trophy in his rookie year, which is given to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey,” and has been a part of 1,210 career hockey games.

If Kessel plays on Monday, he will have the chance to beat Yandle’s record on Tuesday night, and if he continues to play, will reach 1,000 consecutive games on Nov. 17 against his former team, the Arizona Coyotes.

World Series or Bust

The moment all baseball fans have been waiting for is now locked in. The last two teams left in the postseason are set to square off for the Commissioner’s Trophy after a well fought month of playoff baseball.

The underdog Philadelphia Phillies, who barely squeaked by as the last seed in the National League, have made it to the big stage for the first time since they lost in game six of the 2009 World Series to the New York Yankees. The Fightin’ Phils had to battle through the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres, and finished all three series with a record of 9-2. 

The Phillies are the third National League East team in four years to make the World Series and play the Houston Astros.

The past two times, the NL East team won it all. The Washington Nationals defeated the Astros in game seven after sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. The Atlanta Braves won the championship last season in game six to send the 95-win Astros back to Houston.

The Astros have as much to prove as the Phillies do, as they haven’t won a World Series since being committed of their cheating scandal that lasted from 2017-2019. They won 106 games this year, and blasted past the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees staying undefeated through the postseason with nine wins.

Both teams have added bats to their lineups during this past offseason to make a playoff push for 2022.

Philadelphia signed big bats Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to $179M collectively and traded for starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard from the Los Angeles Angels for some pitching depth.

The Astros signed former Phillies reliever Hector Neris, traded for veteran bat Trey Mancini from Baltimore, and relied on young upcoming talent like shortstop Jeremy Pena and pitchers Bryan Abreu, Luis Garcia and Christian Javier.

Game 1 of the World Series will start on Friday, Oct. 28. Games 1 and 2 will take place at Minute Maid Park. Games 3-5 as needed will be in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park. The last two potential games of the series would be back in Texas.

Cheers to the last set of baseball games of the 2022 season!

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