Evan Longoria has played 14 seasons in the major leagues. He has reached the World Series just once — his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008.
Since then, Longoria has played for only one team that reminds him of that ’08 Rays squad. That of course would be this season’s Giants team.
“I’ve played on one other team, in 2008 with the [Tampa Bay] Rays, that I felt we were in a pretty similar boat at the beginning of the year,” Longoria told ABC10 Sacramento’s Sean Cunningham. “The [Los Angeles] Dodgers, the [San Diego] Padres made a ton of acquisitions in the offseason, and even through the trade deadline, and we’ve consistently been the underdog, which I think fits this team’s mold, fits the mentality, fits everything we laid out in spring training.”
The Giants fell just short of the expanded playoffs in last year’s 60-game shortended season. Instead of being seen as a team that would take a leap forward, though, the Giants were expected to take a big step back. Experts predicted San Francisco would finish the season in third or even fourth place in the NL West. On paper, it’s understandable.
Just look at the rosters of Dodgers and Padres. They’re filled with All-Stars and big-name players. They were expected to create a new rivalry, slugging it out all season. The game, as the Giants have made clear, isn’t played on paper.
“Look, we’re not going to be the flashy team, we’re not going to be the team that has a bunch of superstar players who are getting talked about in the media every day,” Longoria said to Cunningham. “We set out to be this bulldog, grindy team, and through 110 games, whatever it has been, we’ve acccomplished everything we want to accomplish.”
Entering Tuesday, the Giants now have played 112 games. They’re 71-41, which is much better than both the Dodgers (67-45) and the Padres (65-49). In fact, San Francisco has the best record in all of baseball.
The second-most wins belongs to none other than the Rays with 68.
Longoria, who is rehabbing right now in Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats and homered Monday, believes in the Giants’ World Series chances with a mixture of young and needed veterans like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, as they hit the home stretch.
“Obviously, the goal is to play for a World Series, and I think when we do get there, when we get to the postseason, this team is built to last,” Longoria said. “We have three guys — Craw, Belt, Posey — have all been there, know how to win in big situations. And that experience goes a long way.
“So, I like our chances when we get into some do-or-die games where we gotta go out and perform.”
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