The movie "Field of Dreams" brings together baseball legends from the past. Pepsi Max is putting their spin on that concept with a promotion that will bring together living legends from the sport. Evan Longoria was at Sweetbay Supermarket in Palm Harbor on Tuesday August 23rd meeting with fans and encouraging them to participate in the contest.
“I think people don’t really understand what this field of dreams promotion is allowing them to do. You know voting in a roster of living legends and then being able to play against them. One lucky fan is going to be able to play against them. It’s a pretty cool deal. You’ve got to get out and vote. Mlb.com/pepsimax vote for these players and one lucky fan is going to get to step on the field with them.”
Longoria seems like a logical choice as a spokesman for an event that will bring legends together. In 2008 he joined the Rays and what followed can only be described as a magical season. He was an All-Star, Rookie of the Year and helped lead the team all the way to the World Series. Fast forward to 2011 and it seems every other fan jersey spotted at Tropicana Field has his name on the back. When the violins of his walk up song “Down and Out” by Tantric alert the fans of his impending at bat there is an audible difference in cheering. He’s “The guy.”
But who is “The guy?” The media has painted several different portraits. First there’s the face of the franchise with all the appropriate responses. Then there’s the California kid going Hollywood and starring in several national ads. Oh, and the most entertaining one consists of mullets, Camaros, and AK-47s. Needless to say, I welcomed the opportunity to sit down with Evan and draw my own conclusions.
Pepsi Max has put together quite a line-up, with guys like Maddux, Garvey, Ripken Jr, Boggs and Gwynn just to name a few. Who would you most like to share the field with?
Brooks Robinson, definitely. I mean he’s a great guy personally and then you know what he did on defense. He’s definitely an inspiration.
This is getting to be the grind it out part of the season. Is it harder physically or mentally this time of year?
Both… You get into the later days of August and the early days of September and it’s always tough to keep focused mentally and you know physically after playing for five months, it definitely takes a toll on your body. Even having a month off to rehab, I’m still tired so I know that everybody who’s been playing for the full five months and hasn’t had a month off is pretty much physically banged up at this point.
You did yoga for charity do you ever do that as part of your routine to be more mentally into…
I actually really enjoy it, um for the most part every day I have a routine. I usually do cardio for ten minutes to warm up and then I have about a ten or fifteen minute stretch routine that does incorporate some yoga, headstands and stuff that people see on the internet. It’s actually really relaxing to do. I mean not only is it a workout but when you can stretch and get into those postures it does mentally relax you.
The other night I was at the game and you were stretching the whole game. Did Casey Kotchman pass that on to you a little bit? He’s always doing calisthenics.
I just, I think over time I’ve had hamstring issues and shoulder soreness which everybody has and over time I’ve just developed that routine during the game where I just try to stay stretched out and as loose as I can.
I know you play 162 games, but is the travel sometimes just as hard on you? You know because “normal” people, we go on a trip and we come back and it’s like we need a vacation from our vacation.
Is that hard for you guys too?
It is. It is. Last year I had my brother, he’s 21 or he’s 22 now… He came on a road trip with us. Just two cities and he had been here (in Tampa Bay) for like three days and then we went to New York and then Denver, something like that, maybe Texas then Denver. By the end of the road trip he was so ready to go home he was like man I don’t know how you guys do this and yeah it is tough.
That leads me to my next question. If you’re travelling with family or friends it’s usually all nice in the beginning and then eventually they are getting on your nerves. You are with these guys ALL the time. Do they get on your nerves?
We all have something or other that bothers somebody else, you know, but I think you learn to deal with it. For the most part this team gets along really really well, but you know you see these issues with guys in the dugout, you get into the verbal arguments or on the field, and all that is… is a product of a lot of testosterone being together 250 days straight.
But now you have somebody to come home to? You have Jango (his dog).
I have Jango yeah. He’s awesome. I took him for a walk this morning.
Is he a bull terrier?
Is he a puppy?
No, he’s six. I took him in from a friend of a friend. I was looking to get a dog and she knew that I was looking.
I wondered how you would handle a puppy. Being on the road so much it would be pretty hard.
I’d had a puppy before. He’s actually with my parents now. I took care of him in the off season. I got him in the offseason like three years ago and I decided that if I was ever going to get another dog it wasn’t going to be a puppy but one that was already trained.
So is he jealous of Astro (David Price’s dog) and his little action figure.
Astro. I can’t talk about Astro. (laughs)
Yeah, that’s David’s dog.
But don’t you think you need your own promotion for you and Jango?
Naw, we stay low key. Maybe we’ll get him on a Pepsi Max commercial.
Yesterday was the first day of school here in Pinellas County. It’s also known as the most wonderful time of the year to some parents. Did you used to drive your mother crazy during the summer?
I don’t know. My mom was always,.. my parents have always been so supportive of my baseball career that I think that I was always going to the baseball field or the park or something. I was always active. A lot of the time I wasn’t even in the house. I was out in the street until the street lights came on and then home for dinner.
And if you weren’t home you were in trouble?
No I wasn’t trouble.
What kind of kid were you? Were you popular in school?
Uh, in high school maybe. I mean, I was never the big time football player. I played baseball but that was it. Baseball wasn’t huge at my school.
You had your core group of friends?
Yeah, I still have. I have three friends that I’ve know since…my buddy that lives with me now I’ve known him since I was four and the other two guys I played youth sports with since I was like nine years old. They’ve always been there.
We’re you studious?
I got by.
Be truthful now.
I got by. I think I had like around a “B” average in high school and then I was right around there in college. You know I, I did my work. I can’t say that I always knew that I was going to play baseball but once I got to college I made it a point of you know putting forth all of my effort to try and make it to where I am now.
Yeah this baseball thing is kind of working out for you.
(laughs)Yeah it’s working so far.
If it hadn’t what do you think you would have done?
I was a criminal justice major so I would have probably been a police officer or something in the justice department.
Kids and some adults are in awe of you. Star struck a bit. Who do you or have you ever been star struck? You know at the Espy’s or …
Yeah, a couple of weeks ago I met Justin Timberlake and I’ve met him before but I’m a huge Justin Timberlake fan.
I am too actually.
Maybe here in Tampa Bay.
It’s just a little bit strange when you come up to somebody who you’ve…I’ve loved him since the NSync days.
Did you try to copy all of his dance moves?
(laughing) No I never danced, but he does great work so I’ve always kind of admired him for that. To actually walk up to somebody and meet somebody like that… that you’ve admired for so long and they know your name and they recognize what you do is pretty cool.
What would you do on your perfect off day?
Um, probably just eat. During football season I’ll just sit on a recliner in the AC and watch football and eat.
All right, last question because there are tons of people waiting to see you. You’re from California. Have you ever played beach volleyball?
I have, I have definitely, but I’m not much of a beach guy. It’s weird I came from California to Florida which are probably the two biggest beach states and I really enjoy the beach atmosphere. I would love to have a home near the beach, but the sand and water and sharks I’m not into that.
Good luck the rest of the season.
So what does all this lead us to conclude about Evan Longoria? Well, he works hard. He is flexible. He’s nice to his brother. He likes funny looking dogs. He was a good kid, loyal to his friends, and he enjoys watching football from his recliner. Basically he’s a normal guy. Well, a normal guy that could very well be a legend someday.
Today is the last day to visit MLB.com/PepsiMax for a chance to win your own Field of Dreams. Bring them to Tampa and maybe Evan would come.
 Since Longoria didn’t throw anyone under the bus, we are lead to believe that either he is being nice or that he is in fact the annoying one.
 This dog is not what you would classify as cute. Maybe he’s so ugly he’s cute? However if left alone with him, I would have to seriously fight the urge to take a black sharpie and draw a circle around one of his eyes.
Because nothing says low-key like a Pepsi Max commercial.
For all of you snickering that we like Justin Timberlake, all you have to do is google Timberlake/Fallon hip hop medley. Dude is legit.
 This might seem like an odd question, but I have a big group of volleyball friends that were curious.
When I left the interview my 15yr old Volkswagon was parked next to quite possibly the most beautiful Porsche in existence. So normal is relative.