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Evan Longoria Sees Resemblances Between 2008 Rays and 2023 Diamondbacks

Oct 7, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Evan Longoria (3) before game one of the NLDS for the 2023 MLB playoffs against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Around 15 years ago, back in 2008, Evan Longoria finished wrapping up his Rookie of the Year campaign and embarked on his very first postseason run with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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The Rays entered the 2008 playoffs as the #2 seed in the American League. They conquered the Chicago White Sox in the divisional round, then they took down the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS by taking Game 7 at home with a score of 3-1.

Longoria was an offensive force for the Rays during that memorable run, but when the team needed him most, his bat seemed to falter.

After starting October strong, Longoria went 1-20 in the World Series, which played a role in his team being defeated four games to one by the Philadelphia Phillies.

At the time, Longoria had just celebrated his 23rd birthday.

Now, fast forward a decade and a half, and Longoria is one game away from attending his second championship series, only this time, the roles are completely different.

Having just turned 38 last week, Evan Longoria is the oldest player on the Diamondbacks postseason roster.

Longoria, formerly the fresh-faced rookie during his first playoff campaign, now takes on the role of the seasoned veteran in the clubhouse, embarking on what could very well be his farewell playoff odyssey.

And for the Diamondbacks, this is exactly what they need.

With youngsters like Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, and Gabriel Moreno (all of whom are 23 years old) experiencing their first taste of October baseball, veteran leadership and knowledge are exactly the key components of a deep playoff run.

Longoria elaborated on this crucial role in an interview with the LA Times, just ahead of the Diamondbacks’ NLDS clash against the Dodgers.

“The excitement of being in the playoffs for the first time—sometimes it’s hard to harness the pressure. But we played really well in Milwaukee. That allowed some of the younger players to settle into the playoff atmosphere, and it only builds confidence and momentum going forward.”

During the NLDS, Longoria was a difference-maker in the Diamondbacks infield. While his bat struggled, the veteran turned back the clock and saved the Diamondbacks with his glove on multiple occasions.

Moreover, when asked if he saw parallels between this year’s Diamondbacks team and the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, Longoria was quick to acknowledge the similarities, per Mike DiGiovanna.

“Yeah, these guys do remind me of that Tampa Bay team,” said Longoria, a three-time All-Star. “We have some really good young players, and I hope this ends in the same way except with us winning the trophy and not losing the World Series.”

Amidst rumors of retirement looming, a World Series ring would be the final crowning achievement for Evan Longoria, marking the closing chapter of his illustrious Hall of Fame career.

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