Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Maddon, Longoria upset at fan
Posted May 3, 2009 by Marc Lancaster
Updated May 3, 2009 at 06:10 PM
The guy, whoever he is, wouldn’t have been as notorious as Steve Bartman if the Rays had somehow managed to lose today’s game, but the Rays were unhappy just the same at the guy who jousted Evan Longoria for a foul ball that would have been the final out in the ninth.
The Jacoby Ellsbury pop that came down just past the Red Sox dugout appeared headed for Longoria’s glove as he leaned over into the stands, but two men—both of whom appeared to be wearing Rays T-shirts—waded in at the same time and the ball ended up falling for a mere strike. Longoria was clearly upset afterward, gesturing with his glove and shouting as he turned back to the infield.
“I didn’t say anything specifically to him, but I know I had a few choice words that were said aloud,” Longoria said of the fan who ultimately bumped him off the ball. “He knew that he was wrong and I think some of the fans were giving him some stuff after. They did their job.”
Manager Joe Maddon, meanwhile, took time in his postgame news conference—without even being asked—to address the play.
“I’d like the fan to understand, the one on the third-base side, you don’t do those things. Really,” Maddon said. “Our fans need to know that. In a game like that, you’re in our ballpark, you let our fielders field that ball, because once the fielder reaches in [to the stands] the fan can catch it and there’s going to be no interference called. Just so our fans know the proper etiquette right there, because that was a big play. You never want to give the Red Sox an extra out.”
Longoria said he understood the impulse, but hoped fans would understand how precious potential outs can be in that situation.
“I think it’s a hard thing because your initial reaction is to go after the ball as a fan – you want a souvenir,” Longoria said. “But geez, in that situation, especially with Pedroia coming up in a close ballgame, you don’t want to give them any opportunities. If we can put the game away there, it makes it a lot easier. I was a little bit upset.”