Evan Longoria called the Tampa/St. Pete area home for 10 years. He accomplished a lot during that time.
He won the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year, was named to three All-Star teams, led the Rays to the World Series in 2008, hit a dramatic walk-off home run in 2011 to send Tampa to the playoffs and won a Gold Glove in 2017. He's the franchise's all-time leader in games played, runs, doubles, home runs and RBI.
But on Wednesday, the Rays traded arguably the greatest player in franchise history to the Giants for Christian Arroyo, Denard Span and two minor league pitchers.
On Saturday morning, Rays fans woke up to a 'thank you' note from Longoria in the Tampa Bay Times:
"It's hard to think of a significant sporting moment in my life that didn't happen in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform - from draft day to my first day in the big leagues. All of my firsts - some mistakes that I hope will be my last, and every special moment in between - I shared with great teammates, coaches and an organization that was my home for 11 years.
I am proud to have been part of four playoff teams and that special 2008 team that fell just short in the World Series. These experiences shaped a winning attitude that has always been important to me. My one regret is not being able to bring a championship to the Tampa/St. Pete community, which has embraced my family and me as my own.
It is with a full heart that I write this to say thank you. Thank you to my family, my wife Jaime and our two kids, Elle and Nash, who have only know the Rays white and blue, for making Tampa/St. Pete a home for us all. Thank you to my teammates and coaches for their support; they have always brought out the best in me. A special thanks to the staff members who made playing for the Rays easy by taking care of all the off-the-field needs. And thank you to the media for always being respectful professionals.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the front office for allowing me to be myself throughout the years, and helping my family and I throughout this process. Finally, and most importantly, thank you to the fans. There isn't a memory in my head that isn't made more vivd by the sounds of the cheers and cowbells. You make the memories alive. I will remember all of you forever.