Give It Up For Tampa Bay Rays, Evan "Almighty"

Ed LeiserCorrespondent IMay 9, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 22:  Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during batting practice prior to game one of the 2008 MLB World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 22, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

As I was about to write this, Evan Longoria hit his 11th home run of the year. 

That's good.

He drove in his 41st run of the year. 

That's great.

He is becoming one of the best third baseman in all of baseball, and is giving the position a new face to help people forget all about Alex Rodriguez and his steroid use. 

That's the best news of all.

I don't want to start bashing A-Rod here (although part of me would like to see him get bashed, but with something other than words).  His numbers speak for themselves.  A-Rod is a fantastic player who will turn in another MVP-caliber season. 

What excites me, however, is the emergence of Longoria.  The 23-year old third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays is off to one of the best starts in recent memory.  His numbers so far (11 homers, 41 RBI, .362 BA., 1.152 OPS) are unreal.

Many expected this kind of production from Longoria, but not this soon.  He did not even start last season with the big boys in Tampa, he toiled with the minions of the minor leagues atthe beginnig of the 2008 campaign. 

So, when Opening Day hit this year, it was, technically, the first full year for Evan Almighty to unleash his wrath on baseball.

The 2008 Rookie of the Year has a good glove, good speed on the base paths, and his bat is other-worldly.  At this pace, Longoria will hit 52 home runs and drive in more runs than Manny Ramirez has dreadlocks. 

And to our knowledge, he has not used steroids, unlike our friend A-Rod.  Longoria is the new kid on the block and has the ability to replace A-Rod in the limelight, at least in terms of being a stud third baseman.

He is a pure baseball player, he did not use performance-enhancing drugs, he is as clean as a whistle.

A-Rod will always remind us of Madonna, but Longoria will always remind me of Eva Longoria (no relation to Evan, but she is no slouch herself).

So, I am hoping that the Evan Longoria bandwagon starts filling up as soon as possible.  As a Cubs fan, I can safely cheer him on because the Tampa Bay Rays have as much in common with the Chicago Cubs as I have with Tony Parker, Eva's hubby.

If Longoria can somehow become an on-base machine (he only drew 46 walks last year) then he can take the title of "world's best third baseman" away from A-Rod. 

I will be rooting for that.