“When I turned the television to TBS during a timeout in the Cowboys game Monday night, I felt nostalgic. It was like reuniting with an old friend. Like playing baseball in the front yard with my childhood buddies. I had to hook up another television so I wouldn’t miss a moment.””
When I turned the television to TBS during a timeout in the Cowboys game Monday night, I felt nostalgic.
It was like reuniting with an old friend.
Like playing baseball in the front yard with my childhood buddies.
I had to hook up another television so I wouldn’t miss a moment.
Seeing Kenny Lofton play in a Cleveland Indians playoff game was priceless.
He didn’t play in center field, and he wasn’t batting lead-off.
But seeing number seven, clad with his typical chain hanging out of his jersey, lay down bunts and poke ground balls through the infield felt sentimental, like deja vu.
All Tribe fans remember the teams of the 90s.
The four straight American League Central Division Championships from 1995-1999 feel like yesterday.
The World Series losses in ’95 and ’97 that left fans heartbroken.
But the players forever live in infamy in the hearts and minds of die-hard Tribe fans.
Lofton, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Carlos Baerga, Manny Ramirez, Roberto and Sandy Alomar and Omar Vizquel are childhood heroes, never to be forgotten.
Lofton was traded to the Atlanta Braves in ’97 but came back to the Indians in ’98, returning to a city that was stunned by his departure.
Tribe fans lost Lofton again after losing in the ’01 ALDS to Seattle in five games.
Management tore the team apart, sending All Star players across the league and a six-year playoff drought ensued.
Fans wondered where the golden years went and were forced to watch the players they adored play elsewhere.
It took six years for Lofton, who began his career as a Houston Astro, to come back.
In his absence from Cleveland he played for the Braves, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicaco Cubs, New York Yankees, Philadephia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers.
Lofton returned to a standing ovation on July 27 and made the losing years feel as though it hadn’t been six years since playoff baseball last came to Cleveland.
While Lofton was brought back to add veteran leadership to the young team, he has been much more in the playoffs.
At 40 years old, Lofton doesn’t look like he has aged a day, and his play has the same appearance.
He batted .375 against the Yankees in the ALDS, tied for second on the team. The only other time in his 11-year playoff career that he had a better batting average was in the ’95 ALCS when he hit .458 vs. the Seattle Mariners.
His .444 on-base percentage, which he topped only in the ’95 ALCS (.517), is third on the team behind Jhonny Peralta (.579) and Grady Sizemore (.524).
The six-time All Star, who split time with Trot Nixon, Franklin Gutierrez and Jason Michaels in the regular season, has proven his worth as a veteran an impact player in the playoffs.
If any athlete deserves to win a championship in Cleveland, it’s Lofton.
And how fitting would it be?
He has given Tribe fans irreplaceable memories in three separate stints in Cleveland.
He knows the heartache that the Cleveland faithful suffered in the past because he felt it harder than we did.
For Indians fans, sending Lofton into retirement as a World Series champion in a Tribe uniform would make the wait worth it.
Let’s hope it continues for two more series.
Reliving the childhood memories has been more than special.
“” #1.1361695:3482943502.jpg:kennylofton_done.jpg:Lofton has made the Indians playoff run nostalgic for long time fans.:mct”