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Longoria's leadership role can't be questioned

ST. PETERSBURG -- Throughout the playoffs and down the home stretch of the Rays' regular season, Evan Longoria has been front row and center in dealing with the media, further demonstrating how he has evolved into a leader on the team.

"The thing I've always mentioned is leadership is taken, it's not given," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "With him, he understands his role, within the organization and within the game. I think again, I've spoken about that for the last couple of years."

Most recently, Longoria addressed the media on Sunday when many of the Rays players did not attend the day's volunteer workout or were not available to the media.

"So it doesn't surprise me that he would understand the moment, 'I need to be there. I know most of the guys aren't, but I need to be there and talk and speak on their behalf,' and he did," Maddon said. "And it doesn't surprise me in the least."

When asked if Longoria's addressing the media helped the team, Maddon replied, "Of course it does."

"When one guy or guys might take the brunt of all of that, especially this time of year, it permits them to chill a little bit more, it definitely matters," Maddon said.

Bill Chastain and Adam Berry are reporters for
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