Baseball Needs More Guys Like Evan Longoria

This post is from 2013. I’d only been living in Tampa for a year or so at this point. The #VoteLongo movement is in full swing today. As someone who grew up a Red Sox fan, share this with fans of other teams. Longo deserves this.

This morning Rays fans are waking up without another game to look forward to. After another incredible end of the season run, an extra win just to play in the Wild Card, and then a Wild Card win, the Boston Red Sox eliminated the Rays last night at The Trop. It’s the kind of ending that just stings.

Truth be told, I grew up in Maine and have lived most of my adult life in Boston. I love Beantown. Love the Sox, Pats, and especially the Bruins. But more than any of the Tampa Bay teams, the Rays have grown on me. The team has no payroll but lots of heart. The entire organization is just run well. From the friendly Trop staff like the woman who saw my Red Sox jersey last night and said “I like your shorts” to the players who take the time to interact with fans, it’s a special group of people.

There was a moment right before the game that I happened to catch with Evan Longoria that tells the story of who the Rays are and why they’re my “other team.” While most players were in the dugout or talking with each other, Evan took a moment when he spotted the door open behind home plate to acknowledge a young fan wearing his jersey. It wasn’t a quick glance and thumbs up. It wasn’t a high five. Evan walked into the seats and had about a minute long chat with the kid.

I tweeted this photo this morning and one of my followers nailed it:

He’s right. This is what baseball is missing. We need less A-Rod and more Evan in baseball.

Congratulations to the Rays on an amazing season. And congratulations to the Rays fans who packed The Trop last night. I’ve been to many Rays/Sox games and it’s usually a 50/50 mix of fans. Not last night. Rays fans showed up. They were loud. The cowbells are still ringing in my ear this morning. Last night should show MLB that this team belongs here in Tampa Bay.

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