Matt Crossman of The Sporting News recently sat down for dinner with Evan Longoria and Jaime Edmondson. The interview reveals several interesting tidbits such as how long Longoria and Edmondson have been dating (a lot longer that you might realize), Longoria’s hobbies (he loves to cook), and how Joe Maddon was at the bar but neither saw each other in the restaurant.
But from a baseball standpoint, the most interesting tidbit was Longoria’s revelation that somebody on the Rays roster had already given up on Game 162 last year and started packing his locker in the fifth inning. Longoria doesn’t reveal which player it was, but one can read between the lines and make a pretty good guess…
“…I’m not going to say any names. I’m not going to out anybody. But I guess one of the guys on our team had gone into the clubhouse and started to pack up his locker in the fifth inning, telling our trainers, ‘It was a great year—thank you for everything.’ Our trainer was like, ‘What are you talking about? It’s the fifth inning. We’re going to win this game.’ You have to have hope until the last out.“I was in shock that somebody would have done that.”
So who was the mystery player? Obviously we can eliminate players in the game. We can also eliminate players in the bullpen and position players on the bench. Those guys would still be expecting to play at some point in the game. That leaves the starting pitchers.
Our first thought was David Price, since he was taken out after four innings and this happened in the fifth. But Longoria and Price are so close that it would be surprising to hear Longo out Price even in an anonymous fashion. Of course, maybe Longoria is just giving Price a hard time.
Also, Price is such rah-rah guy, he just doesn’t seem like a guy that would ever give up. But he can also be very hard on himself when he doesn’t pitch well. At this point, we are split on Price’s guilt.
So we went to the tape. And by “tape” we really mean the digital copy since nobody actually uses tape anymore, but we digress.
Unfortunately we don’t get a lot of dugout views during the 5th inning. We do see Jeremy Hellickson hanging on the dugout rail…
And we see James Shields pacing in the dugout…
And that’s it. Complicating matters is the story Sam Fuld wrote for Grantland.com about Game 162, in which he says players on the bench spent a lot of time in the clubhouse watching the Red Sox game when the Yankees were batting.
Still, based on the circumstantial evidence collected during WAY TOO MUCH TIME spent on this question, we would say the three suspects would be David Price, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Davis. And well, Niemann and Davis don’t seem like the types to go small-talking trainers in the fifth inning.