MLB: Atlanta Braves at Tampa Bay RaysEvan Longoria made some strange comments about former teammates James Shields and BJ Upton. I am not going to post an excerpt of the quotes here because I don’t want to take them out of context. So I encourage you to go over to TampaBay.com and read the entire article if you haven’t already.

With Shields, Upton gone, Rays’ Longoria focuses forward

But in summary, Longoria feels the clubhouse is better off without Shields and Upton because they were the last players that still had ties to the dark days before 2008.

What is strange about the comments is that they can easily be taken as negative comments even if that wasn’t the intention. And I am not really sure why Longoria said it at all.

I think Longoria is trying to put a positive spin on losing two good players. And I think he is trying to tell us how great the clubhouse is this season. But in doing so he pretty much threw Upton and Shields under the bus.

Couldn’t he have made the same point without even mentioning Shields and Upton? Longo admits there weren’t any specific incidents, just a feeling of negative vibes or something. Of course, Longoria and Upton famously scuffled in the dugout, so it is possible there was still some bad blood there. But how does Shields fit into this equation?

But the biggest problem with these comments is that this is just the beginning of the story. Now the media in Kansas City and Atlanta are going to take these quotes and go to Shields and Upton and ask for a reaction. And if those writers want to stir the pot, Longoria just handed them a big spoon. So now it is up to Shields and Upton to stop the story, which is not a fair situation to be in, for two players that didn’t do anything wrong.

Maybe there was some underlying tension that Longo needed to get off his chest. Or maybe the words didn’t come out quite the way Longo intended. But in the end, the comments just seemed unnecessary and unbecoming of a “team leader” (whatever that means).

 
 

19 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Here let me give you a Direct Quote : Longoria said:” Shields & Upton endured rough Devil Rays Days remained a CLUBHOUSE ISSUE, and the current team is in a Better mental state” with them GONE….”…
    Does Egotistical little backstabbing punk come to anyones mind…Longo is a
    RAYS “wanta be leader”….Upton never respected him, Shields WAS the Leader of Pitching Staff and Senior member/leader of the Team….
    Watch out Zobrist…He gets rid of you (price already gone 1/2 yrs), He assumes Leadership…that he so dearly covets….
    UNREAL on Oppening day? Longo you are a Punk….

  2. Gus says:

    I believe those comments are mostly directed at Bossman, and relate back to the incident when Longo and Upton had to be seperated in the dugout over a lack of hustle on Utpon’s part (Cork: Do you remember the incident? I forgot what BJ did to anger Longoria). So it was not just Maddon who had run ins with BJ. As we see now, you have to be a real hard guy to not get along with Maddon. At the time, we were conditioned to Rays prospects being idiots.

    I think it also goes to the larger issue of the negative morale of a guy playing out his contract, knowing he isn’t getting paid.

    I think Shields was mostly cover for the comments about Upton, although his attitude around the trade deadline was always a little grumpy (with justification). Rays should have been in the World Series in 2011 but for Shields collapsing on the mound with a fat lead about to go 2-0 up at Texas. That is the only kind of mental negativity on the field I can remember with Shields.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      The incident in the dugout came after a flyball to left field. I dont think it was ever confirmed, but the feeling was that Longo was upset because he thought Upton could have caught the ball if he ran hard and that this was just the latest incident and Longo was tired of it.

    • AJNO says:

      i agree 100%. first thing i thought of when read his remarks. there is no way longo lets something like this “slip” to the media. he knew exactly what he was saying, and he knew it would get around. Longo isnt the first person to call out BJ on his attitude. Im not sure this is late breaking news to most long time Rays fans…

  3. angrybuddha says:

    This is clearly an April Fool’s joke played by Longo, right?

  4. Bill says:

    All of use were far more negative on BJ over the years times than Longo was in the quotes. And some were really down on Shields, especially in the last couple of playoff runs. Yeah, Longo, a 20-something , said things he shouldn’t have.he claims they came out wrong. Surprise. I suggest you all go read everything he said before rushing to judgment based upon the select snippet Donny Doom decided to post. He even said he didn’t think what he said came out right.

    That said, I will say that Shields, while a very good pitcher, did have some attitude. He often showed emotion on the field especially when we were losing close games. It wasn’t the same as BJ’s ‘ttude, but it was there. And did you read his book? There was certainly a good bit of self aggrandizing in it. I can only guess how that translated to the club house.

    Should Longo have said what he did? No. Can I imagine where it was coming from and understand it? Absolutely.

    Half full view – he said the vibe in the clubhouse is very good and even better than it was in the past.

  5. Ken says:

    Bottom line Rays fans: Read the article before commenting. Longo didn’t throw any one under the bus. He was trying to engage a sports beat hack in a conversation on how the clubhouse attitude has changed with the departure of long time Rays and the addition of new faces. Spin this piece anyway you like, but don’t beat up another Rays player (like Price) for trying to give an intelligent assessment of the state of the Rays today.
    BJ could only be that eloquent after a couple of shots at Bishop’s. Shields was a great asset who gave the Rays all he had. Often, in crunch time, it wasn’t enough. I wish them both the best and I’m sure Longo does too.
    Anyway we can ship Don, master of negative spin, to the NY/Jersey/Conn area where he can join millions of others who spew poisonous diatribes at their beloved franchise?

  6. Mr.Smith 1980 says:

    Better left unsaid.
    But, Dirtbag is obviously privy to information that we are not. My assumption would parallel Cork’s; Dirtbag and Bossman didn’t get along because Longo is an all hustle kind of player and BJ is a rely on my talent to get me off the hook kind of guy. Not sure what, if any, issue he had with Shields– a lot of it can be related to how people react to losses. I know that when I played sports nothing made me more angry than people who just lost a game walking off the field laughing and smiling… you never know.

    Bear in mind that there is no way that 25 grown men can spend 10 months a year together and all get along. Certain people are friends and others are not. Even if you have great team chemistry in the dugout in the “heat of the battle” you still may not want to go hang out with certain players in your free time and that bleeds over into the clubhouse even if it doesn’t make it all the way out to the field.

  7. Nick says:

    Cut Longo some slack. Anyone with kids knows that a newborn will put you out of your mind.

  8. Marc says:

    ‘Longoria feels the clubhouse is better off without Shields and Upton because they were the last players that still had ties to the dark days before 2008.’

    Zobrist has been around since 2006….

  9. Beth says:

    I do wish Longo had just stayed mum. I never like to see players dumping on their former teams/cities after leaving (hello, Carl Crawford!), but it’s inconceivable to me why someone would make disparaging remarks about two former teammates who have been big contributors to the team’s success, and who have departed graciously.

    I realize that major league players don’t reveal their private personalities in their public appearances, but is there anyone who honestly imagines that James Shields was somehow a detriment to the Rays sense of camaradarie over the past few years?

  10. Biff Barker says:

    Cork is spot on. I was at the game BJ and Longo had the dust up. The crowd was none to pleased about Upton dogging it and that may have been a factor in setting Longo off.
    Regardless, Longo is here long term, Upton is not. The chips have fallen.

  11. Dave L says:

    Who knows? Maybe Longo heard too many ‘oh boy you guys are spoiled, I remember back in the day when……’ Stories and he’s glad he doesn’t have to hear them anymore.

    Back then Zobrist was more concerned about making the Majors like any prospect so he doesn’t count.

    Tempest in a teapot

  12. CA says:

    I think Longo’s comments are relatively benign but also direct. In the article he references the “long term girlfriend” analogy, which is telling of his intent. Sounds like he thought Shields and BJ expressed negativity in the clubhouse too often and nicely chalked it up to understandably negative experiences under the previous regime. He wants a clubhouse full of people that are positive and want to be there. I doubt that Shields or BJ respond to the quotes.

  13. Don says:

    Shields Responded…not strong enough, But Shields will get his “SHOT” April 30th, 0r May 1st in KC, Hope no pitches get too close to Baby face’s Nose…
    Upton, could probally give a Damn what Longoria says, as he did when he was here,He didn’t recognize Longoria as a “leader”

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