Longoria is California bound for the World Baseball Classic
You can only imagine the quick suitcase packing and the nonchalant look towards the clubhouse attendant when he told them he needed to get into the clubhouse after 5 pm today. the anxious look on Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman’s face as he told Evan Longoria that he was “going to the the Big Show in California this weekend. But most of all, can you imagine the hustle and bustle for tickets now from the Long Beach California area now that Longoria is in route to Tampa International airport with a trip to California firmly within his grasp.
He will be so hyper by the time he hits Petco Park, not just for the adventure, but because he can share it with fellow Rays player and California dude, J P Howell. Longoria is the rookie again, with Howell having been in the Team USA clubhouse sine they left him in Clearwater, Florida after the Rays versus Philadelphia Phillies game back on February 28th. always great to know you have a fellow team mate already in house to get you up to snuff on the activities and the daily goings on of the World Baseball Classic. This is not to say the two might not have talked recently, but you can bet it is going to be a great opportunity for Longoria not only to represent the United States, but to play ( hopefully) both contests in his home state in front of friends and family.
You know that Team USA already has a small block of tickets for him, but I think they will need more. For the former Long Beach State University student will probably have a couple hundred congratulation messages and ticket requests in the next 24 hours. I do not know if he is taking a red-eye flight out tonight to even get into the groove of this event. I know I would have sprinted out the door and gone home and got my laptop, a few personal items and basically ran all the way to the airport. This is a major opportunity for him to showcase to the west coast of the U.S. that Longoria style we have come to know and love in the Tampa Bay area.
And it all came about because of two injuries to the original members of the team that man the “hot corner”. David Wright has been the heir apparent to the third base crown for a few years, but with him also limping a bit after fouling a ball off his foot and breaking hid big toe nail, it might be a game time decision on Wright. As for the senior member of the “3B” team, Chipper Jones will be sidelined with a right oblique muscle injury that will prohibit his playing and batting in the rest of the tourney. the official announcement did not hit the Internet until after 9 pm tonight, but he is not the only one being called up for duty in this critical stage of the World Baseball Classic.
Also meeting him in California will be a array of other sluggers ready and willing to provide some ammunition and power to the Team USA cause. Also getting a call tonight were Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore, St Louis Cardinal Outfielder Ryan Ludwick ( who went 1-4 with a 3-run homer today against the Rays), 1st baseman Derrick Lee of the Chicago Cubs, and catcher A J Pierzynski of the Chicago White Sox. their first game will be held on Sunday, with a win, they will again play on Monday for the World Baseball classic Championship in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. But that is not all for Longoria. the Sunday opponent will also have a familiar face in Rays second baseman Akinora Iwamura, who will be on the field for Japan in the Sunday contest.
Congrats to Longo for his selection to play in this critical point in the WBC format. I am looking forward to the Sunday game now with great anticipation of a “coming out” of sorts for Longoria at third base. People in the U. S. who follow baseball have gotten to see this unique rookie play for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 on his way to the American League Rookie of the Year award. But the people of Japan, Korea and Venezuela have not see the power and grace this young athlete has yet. But they will soon. So, let’s all make sure we set our DVR’s and other recorders for this game. I have a feeling this is going to be an instant classic match-up between two great baseball powers.
photo credits: 1) www.sports.espn.com