Ever wonder what it takes to be an All-Star? How do big leaguers spend their last few minutes leading up to game time? Or what does their pre-game meal look like? We sat down with Tampa Bay third baseman, Evan Longoria while he was in town for a series against Boston to ask him some questions about his pre-game rituals. As an All-Star Team NB athlete, Longoria just finished working with the New Balance design team on creating his very own 530, dubbed the Evan Longoria Blackout 530 – the guy designs shoes almost as well as he hits baseballs.
Here’s what Longo had to say about his game day rituals and a small tid-bit of advice for those up-and-coming stars…
NB: What do you eat before a game?
Evan Longoria: I usually just have a protein shake or fruit smoothie with peanut butter. It’s hard to eat a big meal before a game – some guys do though. Typically, I’ll just have a big lunch before batting practice. After BP adrenaline kicks in and I can’t eat much so that’s where a smoothie or a bag of beef jerky comes in.
I don’t eat much after the game either just because it’s hard emotionally with all the adrenaline still taking over. I do try to get at least 500 calories in though.
NB: Any pre-game rituals?
EL: I pretty much do the same thing every day. When we’re at home I’ll have like two hours before the game, but on the road we get less time—usually just an hour or so. I go in the cage about 30-40 minutes before a game and hit for about 15 minutes. After BP I’ll watch TV for like 15-20 minutes to detach from everything. Then I’ll go through training tools and get familiar with whoever’s pitching and get a feel for the other team. After I put my uniform on I typically watch video of my good swings so that I feel good mentally.
NB: Talk about how watching video helps you.
EL: I think it’s important to keep or save some good video of quality swings to use them as confidence builders. That’s my advice for kids playing in high school or college. Everyone goes through periods where you don’t hit as well, but focusing on the good swings helps break out of that mentally and start each game with more confidence.
NB: How often do you play the drums before a game?
EL: If I’m feeling good I like to mess around on the drums at the field – it’s a great mental release. I started four years ago and just taught myself how to play. I love music and always thought playing an instrument would be cool. When I first started I’d go to the field early and watch videos and tutorials to teach myself.
NB: Are you good?
EL: I’m not great, but I am good! Good enough to play with people and not be embarrassed.
NB: What other advice do you have for young players?
EL: It’s important for kids to understand that this game is temporary. Other professions aren’t—if I was a chef or a finance guy I could do that until I’m 65+. But the reality is I’m not going to play major league ball the rest of my life. In college I was just playing to play but then realized I was good at it, so figured I should pursue it instead of trying something else. The point is, if you’re good you need to dedicate yourself whole-heartedly to that road until it runs out. My plan going to college wasn’t to become a professional baseball player, but I couldn’t be happier that it ended up this way.