Longoria recalls 2011 magic, hopes for more

Longoria recalls 2011 magic, hopes for more

Longoria recalls 2011 magic, hopes for more
CHICAGO -- Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the unforgettable Game No. 162.

As any Rays fan can recall, the Rays overcame a 7-0 lead against the Yankees on Sept. 28, 2011, before Evan Longoria's home run in the bottom of the 12th gave the Rays an 8-7 win and a spot in the playoffs as the American League Wild Card.

"It's a special day," Longoria said. "It's going to be a special day for the rest of my life. This year, I really haven't given it much thought. I've been pretty focused on what's going on in here on a daily basis and how I can help us win in the situation we're in now.

"That situation is probably a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'll never be able to replicate again. But I think this year is a great opportunity for us to make new memories."

When pressed further about what stands out in his memory from that night, Longoria noted that overall the day was so crazy that it was hard to pinpoint one moment. Finally, he said that crossing home plate was special.

"Just seeing the pure joy in the rest of my teammates' faces," Longoria said. "And kind of the unbelieveable-ness of the whole situation -- if that's a word -- the shock and awe factor of everybody's faces and the tone of voices and the reactions of everybody. I'll never forget how special that was."

When it was pointed out that Dan Johnson was in the White Sox dugout, Longoria smiled. Of course, Johnson hit the game-tying home run for the Rays in Game No. 162.

"It's eerily ironic, I guess, for him to be on the other side," Longoria said. "We're hoping he's on the losing end of these next four. ... We have a lot in front of us, a lot to accomplish over these next seven days, so we have to keep our focus up."

Longoria smiled when asked if he would walk Johnson if he were manager Joe Maddon and Johnson came up in a crucial situation.

"You know, [Johnson] has a knack for getting big hits," Longoria said. "So, if he's in a situation where he has a chance to do some damage to us -- they're lineup is pretty potent over there, but he'd be a guy I'd definitely have my eye on."