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.

That leaves….

 
 

16 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Where was Kelly Shoppach? We blamed him for everything else, might as well blame him for this one.

  2. Sarah says:

    I think it was Price, and I forgive him. He pitched miserably on a day they needed him to be great. I’m sure he just felt disgusted with himself.

  3. rome says:

    That’s not James Shields, it’s Russ Canzler. it’s interesting trivia question though.

  4. Kelly says:

    It was price. I still have this game on TiVo and just watched the 5th. Price throws something and exists into the clubhouse and doesn’t return until around the 7th. Davis and niemann are on the railing towards the other end of the dugout together towards where shields is pacing. Weird that Evan would “out” him but hey, longo’s a gamer

    • Cork Gaines says:

      definitely adds to the evidence. the one thing i will add is that Price was just pulled from the game, so it wouldn’t be unusual for him to go to the clubhouse, and get his arm wrapped. but if he is one for two whole innings…

  5. Michael says:

    Well I walked out in the 7th, so DP only beat me by two innings.

  6. Cork Gaines says:

    One thing I want to add since some (nobody here) seem to think I am being malicious with this post…

    I personally think this story is funny more than anything and hold nothing against whoever it was that did this. Maybe it would be less humorous if the Rays lost the game by a run in the 9th or something. But even then, it is not like one of the starting pitchers would have made a difference at that point.

    But in the end, it is just another fun little tidbit from the greatest night in Rays history. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Sarah says:

      I agree it’s a story told in fun.

      Also, Fuld’s “memoir” of the evening notes that many players spent time in the clubhouse. The only thing different in this account is that it has the “guilty” player saying goodbye to the training staff.

      And if indeed it’s Price, well….it’s not like he could have come back to play. It would be different if it were a position player or relief pitcher who might have been called on. And it’s not as though he actually got in his car and drove back to Tennessee after the fifth inning. If you look at the video of Longoria’s walk off at bat (a clip I’ve clearly spent too much time replaying!), you clearly see Price, in uniform, chatting away in the dugout.

  7. Mike says:

    I would have guessed Damon. Where was he? He would have had plenty of time while the team was in the field to go back and pack up his locker, and Longo would not have seen him do it. Plus, he would have had a reason to thank the trainers like he was never going to see them again. Price would likely have been back the next day anyway for treatment and definitely would have been back at some point.

    • Beth says:

      You are saying that Damon went to the clubhouse in the 5th, packed up his locker and thanked the trainers, and then came back to bat in the 6th? I guess as the DH he’s got a lot of time to do whatever he wants when his team is in the field, so it’s possible.

      But if he did his packing while the team was on the field, Longoria wouldn’t have seen him, as he was presumably on third base.

      • Mike says:

        I have no idea who would do that and am not saying that Damon did. But since Percy and Navi were not there, if I had to make a guess I would go with Damon if it was a regular player.

  8. Rumpy says:

    If you read Longo’s quote he used the words “I guess” and “had” instead of saying he actually saw this mystery player do it. That leaves me to believe he was told this by a trainer or another player in the clubhouse. He didn’t have to actually be in there to see it himself.

    With that being said, when I started reading the article my first guess was Damon as well.

    • Mike says:

      The first sentence in the full quote is: “I didn’t know this until today.” Longo didn’t see the person, he is basing his account on what someone else told him.

  9. Political Man says:

    The story almost doesn’t make sense simply because the Red Sox and O’s were still going at it in a close contest. Even if you assume the Rays don’t win 162, you have to assume there’s at least good chance your playing 163, especially the way the Red Sox had been blowing games leading up to that.

    I think the only guy that makes sense is Price. Price was probably really frustrated with the way he played and went back to his locker to have a pity party. And maybe this is Longo’s way of teaching Price a lesson.

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