Like it or not, Longo is still the leader

by Gary Shelton on February 25, 2016 · 1 comment

in Baseball, general, Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria will need push to reach the Hall./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Longoria will need push to reach the Hall./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Thursday, 6 a.m.

If the mantle of leadership has become too heavy for Evan Longoria to bear, I say he put it down. By all means.

Someone else can call the clubhouse meetings. Someone else can talk to the rookie who isn't going all out. Someone else can run the Kangaroo Court.

If Longoria, the victim of career slippage, believes that leadership is getting in the way of him being a great player, well, by all means, withdraw from the role. The Rays need a healthy Longoria driving in runs, making a difference, being sharp mentally. They need for Longoria to be an elite player again, the player you look to make a difference in crunch time. Someone else can remind the rookies that they aren't getting to camp early enough.

Except that it doesn't work that way, and I suspect that, deep down, Longo knows it. He was one of those guys who was born with his hands on the steering wheel.

A player doesn't volunteer to be a leader, and he doesn't resign his position as one. Leadership occurs naturally, and it becomes a part of an athlete. There will come a time when, by golly, something needs to be said, and Longoria will realize that the speaker needs to be him. I don't blame him for trying to get all the distractions out of his way, and a baseball player has to take

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cecil DeBald February 25, 2016 at 9:11 am

I agree with you, Longo isn’t going to dodge much. From what I read into it, I think he sees more of a return to a few years ago, when, certainly, he was “the leader”, but so was BG James, and DP, and Carlos, others. I think last year Longo didn’t feel there was really anyone else, and it was all on him – leadership, getting the key hit, making the key play. Now he sees Arch, and Kev, maybe one of the new Vets, and feels relieved that it’s not all on him. All the examples you listed (Jeter, et al), were leaders on mostly great teams – sure does make the burden easier to bear!

Cecil

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