Feb 25, 2009
Thousands of fans packed into the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on April 11, 2008, hoping for their chance to catch a glimpse of Evan Longoria. He was a favorite to win the American League Rookie of the Year award and probably didn't have much time left with the Triple-A affiliate.
Then shortly before the first pitch the realization came that Longoria was not around, not going to play for Durham that night. Hours before he was called up to the Tampa Bay Rays. He would never play a game at the DBAP in 2008. But the Ray's all-star remembers the 38 games he spent with the Bulls.
"You know Durham is such a great place to play first of all, the environment is great every night," Longoria told The Fan's Dave Shore on Tuesday. "It's just conducive to good baseball, you can't speak enough words for what these guys have done as far as building the minor leagues for our system."
In the middle of Longoria's answer an anonymous voice shouted, "so good of a place you wanna go back?" Longoria abruptly replied, "No I don't!"
And he won't be back in a Bulls uniform if he builds on his rookie season. He was the fan's vote to play in the 2008 All-Star game. He also set a rookie record for most home runs in a postseason series with four. And he did in fact win that 2008 Rookie of the Year award.
Longoria hit .255 with five home runs in his 38 career games with the Durham Bulls.
Dave Shore of 99.9 FM The Fan is at spring training this week with the Durham Bulls and Tampa Bay Rays.