PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. The chants are common. They come when theres a pause in Evan Longorias routine, a break in his process. They come from voices of all variety kids, men and women, young and old each a hint at how far the former junior-college transfer has traveled and the distance he wants to go.
They burst from fans lips like kernels popping in dry heat. One comes late Sunday morning, from a male voice behind a cage at Charlotte Sports Park, as the Tampa Bay Rays star third baseman twirls a bat in his hands.
Longo! the voice yells. Evan!
More arrive early Sunday afternoon, after the Rays first full-team workout, from a small group of autograph-seekers waiting near a chain-link fence. He walks away, toward a glass door that leads to the clubhouse. Voices follow.
Evan! Evan! Evan!
Longoria has earned these moments. They reflect what he is: a franchise face, a leader after averaging .276 at the plate and cracking 456 RBI in five seasons, a marketable name after signing a 1...