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America, take heart: We may be increasingly addled by and in thrall to button-pressing, butt-sitting digital distractions -- one nation under "Modern Warfare 2" -- but our professional athletes still have their priorities straight.
Well, at least Evan Longoria does.
After the Tampa Bay slugger was named the cover boy for the upcoming 2K Sports release "MLB 2K10" -- by the way, vote for your favorite cover image here -- we had to ask: What was the bigger honor, gracing a game box or being named the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year?
"Probably rookie of the year," Longoria said. "I mean, you only get one chance to win rookie of the year, whereas you can become a better player over your career and get on the cover."
Probably? Eh, good enough. What else did Longoria have to say? Read on ...
Q: Have you heard of the Madden cover curse? Has anyone teased you about something similar happening with MLB 2K10?
Yeah. [Laughs] The good thing about it is that 2K Sports, we have a reverse curse going. The cover athletes in the past have been very fortunate. Kobe Bryant. Kevin Garnett. Derek Jeter. Alex Ovechkin. Guys who have been very successful. So I'm not too worried about it. (Editor's note: we didn't have the heart to mention Jay Williams, cover athlete for NCAA College Basketball 2K3.)
Q: Are you a video game player, and if so, what are you playing now?
I am. Right now, I'm playing "Rock Band." Growing up, I started off playing Super Nintendo's "Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball." I played it for like three years. He got a hit every time in that game. [Laugh] I hope it's like that for me [in MLB 2K10].
Q: So, how should I pitch to Evan Longoria in MLB 2K10?
[Laugh]. If you had to strike me out, the good thing about the game is that it's very relative to real life. If you went back and watched my at-bats from last season and saw the way pitchers were getting me out, there's a good chance you could get me out in the game. It's very realistic.
Q: Right. But you're not really answering the question.
I can't divulge the actual information. There could be a pitcher listening to [our conversation].
Q: "MLB 2K9" had customizable soundtracks. What's your favorite song that you would be embarrassed to use as real-life at-bat music?
I like really like Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift. There are probably a few country songs and a few Nosing songs that I would like to go up to. But that would never happen. I actually played a Rihanna song two times last year as a joke. Everyone had a laugh.
Q: Do you ever wish that somebody else named Longoria would become famous so you didn't have to answer questions or hear jokes about Eva Longoria?
Oh, I'm over that now. It was pretty tough going through the minor leagues and my first year in the majors. Every city I went to I heard it. But now I have fun with it.
Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2.