Our correspondent in charge of all things sensible, Jordi Scrubbings, is back with an in-depth look at the Evan Longoria bare-hand catch video that has now topped 4,000,000 views since we first posted it three weeks ago…
By now, half of creation has seen the amazing viral video of Evan Longoria snagging a line drive barehanded during batting practice and saving the life of some random reporter. Over the last few days, it has been revealed that the interview took place at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida.
Being that I was in Bradenton doing research for an upcoming assignment for Minor League Baseball.com, I decided to also see what I could find out about this mysterious video.
After some poking around, I managed to meet and talk to the Bradenton Marauders Coordinator of Communications and Radio Broadcasting Joel Godett. Godett was nice enough to answer a few questions about McKechnie Field, Longoria, and the catch.
Rays Index: Can you tell me a little bit about McKechnie Field?
Joel Godett: McKechnie Field is about 100 years old. The Pirates have been here for over 40 years now. Our team president Frank Coonelly calls it “The Jewel of the Florida State League”.
It’s got an old kind of charm to it. It’s got history to it, it’s got many character stories to it, and it’s neat to see the evolution of the field. It’s neat for us because we have this video and Big League Stew on Yahoo! pointed out that the stadium in the video looks like McKechnie Field. It was cool for us to see the name of our stadium on a site like that.
RI: When was the video filmed?
Godett: It was filmed right before Spring Training, if my memory serves me correct. So it would have been in the end of February. There was a whole thing that day with Gillette, part of a Kenny Mayne series that Gillette is doing called “A Mayne and His Razor“. Kenny Mayne was here that day and he shot a video with Evan Longoria. That was part of that whole day and they shot that video.
RI: Were you guys surprised from a Marauders’ perspective about how popular the video has gotten?
Godett: It is very cool for us. It’s a funny story. When Chase Utley of the Phillies was here last week on rehab, I went down to the clubhouse and I was shooting the bull with the security guard who was there for Chase and as we were talking he said, “Have you seen that video with Evan Longoria?”. Then I looked it up and I was watching and I realized that was McKechnie Field. Then I realized what it was because I saw the Gillette banners in the background. And that was the first time I saw the video.
RI: So you weren’t the stands watching them film?
Godett: I was not in the stands for that part of it, no.
RI: Was it a big production?
Godett: It was a full-day production.
RI: Why did they pick this stadium?
Godett: I don’t really know why. But I guess we were very accessible for them and everything they needed to do.
RI: The field isn’t the same now as it was when they filmed the commercials. Can you talk about that at all?
Godett: In the commercial, where the Gillette banner hangs, there used to be a roof there. That was taken down in the beginning of May as part of stadium renovations. They will go back up at some point this year or after the Florida State League season. That has yet to be determined. If you come to McKechnie Field now, you might think in the commercial they were CGI, but the roofs were there. The Gillette banner might have been CGI, but the roofs were definitely there.
RI: Finally, what was that reporter doing on the field?
Godett: Not looking.