TAMPA — After hearing the news of the Rays trading Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, several people called Ducky's Sports Lounge and asked if the bar would close.
"We're not going anywhere," said Lorenzo Cordoves, long-time manager of the restaurant and bar Longoria co-owns. "Longoria is still apart of Ducky's. It's been a tough day here. He's been an integral part of Tampa. We wish him well."
Tampa Bay dealt Longoria, their Gold Glove third baseman and face of the franchise, to the Giants for two players with Tampa connections — infielder Christian Arroyo and outfielder Denard Span — and two minor-league pitcher. Here's a sampling of reaction from readers of the Tampa Bay Times and tampabay.com:
It was impossible not to love Longo. From the countless unforgettable moments he created on the field, to all of the good he did for the community, it's sad to see the greatest player in club history go.
With that being said, it's time for the Rays to rebuild. Receiving a good return and adding to the wealth of prospects while also separating from a big contract is a step in the right direction for the future. Although it's sad that we won't see No. 3 in a Rays uniform again, the increasingly bright future is something that's really exciting.
— Dominik Vega, Tampa
I will not renew my season tickets, I will not vote or support a new stadium. I want this team out of Tampa Bay and more importantly I want the lies of Stu Sternberg to end. This ownership group is a disgrace to our community and has cut the heart out of baseball in this region forever.
— Tim Caldwell, St. Petersburg
I will never attend another Rays game while the current owners are in place. I am very tired of hearing "we can't do this because we are a small market team etc. Now with moving Longoria they have proven they have no respect for the fans or the community they serve. This year's crowds will prove that the Rays again have made a huge mistake and I really feel this is an attempt by them to be able to move the team by selling to an outside group.
— Jay Burton, Daytona Beach
This community owes that man greatly. People should never forget the sacrifices Evan made by signing that team-friendly deal his rookie year. Then later he extended that. Teams do not trade for players, they trade for contracts and Evan signed a contract that I believe will be a lasting foundational point for this franchise today and tomorrow.
People will refer to Game 162 and the 2008 World Series, but so much of what Evan Longoria did was being such a great consistent presence for the revolving door of the Rays roster in the last decade. Evan grew up off the field and on the field while handling himself as a true face of the franchise. When we celebrate the new youthful Rays growth 3-4 years from today, the Rays fan base should not forget sacrifices Evan Longoria made to make that happen and his lasting imprint.
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— Jake Jahimiak, Greendale, Wisconsin
Honestly, I feel like I'm not as disappointed as I probably should be, and I think that makes me even more sad than the trade. Football is king, and the Bucs own the Bay, so let's get that out of the way to start. But, when it comes to the second-tier sports, who wins Tampa's hearts? For the last half-decade Mr. Vinik and the brilliance that is the Lightning franchise has been run so fantastically they've pushed the Rays to the margins.
I've grown to be such a part of the authentic fan movement that is, "Be the Thunder", that "Feel the Heat" just seems like a daily weather forecast in Tampa. It's sad to say but I just don't care as much about the Rays today as I did 10 years ago.
— RJ Denton. Palm Harbor
So Denard Span's old-school stats look solid until the new-school stats show he's the lousiest centerfielder in baseball. So Christian Arroyo is the Giants' No. 1 prospect. Whoopee. If they fielded two full 25-man rosters with MLBs top prospects Arroyo would be in the bleachers eating popcorn because he's ranked 56th. For Stingy Stu their most important stats are the same as the Kevin Cash's stat. They're from the Tampa area and he saves the moving expenses. So when the boys start hiring staff and sluggers from Montreal you'll have a good story.
— Frank Anthony, Zephyrhills
What do you think attendance will be next year without Longoria? It was dead last in 2017 with 15,670 per game. Give up the ghost, Rays. The ugliest stadium in the league, by far, will be even uglier next year without the aura of Longoria. Next step — bye bye baseball in TB.
— Robert Harney, Sarasota
I believe Longo grew stale here. We will miss his 2017 Gold Glove but he is only an average hitter with below average speed and very spotty power. I wish him the best and am done following the Rays until ownership shows a commitment to winning instead of lining their pockets. Going to the beach.
— Kent Kleist, Sarasota
Maybe I was naive, but I never believed in the rumors of trading Longoria was actually true. I always though that he was the one piece that was actually untouchable, even for Stu. Although it's very possible that this was a good trade — I usually believe in our front office doing their job — it really doesn't matter right now.
— Martin Sundquist, Huskvarna, Sweden
On one side I understand trading him looking at his age, salary owed and the unrealistic goal of competing in the AL East, much less going to the World Series. The other side is getting a stadium deal in the Tampa area is tough under normal circumstances, but now you have traded away your franchise piece. So if this continues, with the possibilities of Archer, Colome, Kiermaier, Dickerson and Ramos all being traded, what do you have to help fill the seats at the Trop and go to potential investors and season ticket holders to get them interested in a new stadium? The Rays staying in the Tampa Bay area is becoming less of a reality.
— Jeff Crawford, Kentucky
The Rays just sent a huge very clear message to the fans. They don't care about us and clearly want to move the team, as the fan base was just cut in half. Thank God for the Lightning and a real owner, Jeff Vinik. Mr. Vinick, please buy the Rays before they leave.
— Jim Danielski, 61, Tampa
Reporter Jon Capriel contributed to this report