Evan 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.
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).