|Nick Swisher vs. Kenny Lofton|
Rumor on the playground is that current Tribe fan favorite got into a kurfuffle at TribeFest with old fan favorite Kenny Lofton. It came down to the meaning of the word "Playoffs."
Long story short, it has been reported that Swisher and Lofton were nose to nose barking at each other because Lofton believes the Playoffs are a series, not a one and done game like the Tribe played last year.
Swisher took that as a personal affront and let Lofton have it.
Guess what? I'm ok with that. Lofton has been a serious grouch, a grumpy old man if you will, to fans for some time. He has appointed himself the defender of the 90s Tribe legacy, and doesn't want anyone else on his lawn. He reminds me of the '72 Dolphins.
I understand that Lofton is trying to hold on to his moment in the sun, but he needs to learn to play well with others...especially current Tribe players and fans. Strike one for playing well with the current players, and strike two for playing well with the fans.
I have met Lofton on several occasions. A couple of years ago, he was signing autographs at a Tribe game. I waited in the sweltering sun, tossing my new baseball in the air. I was giddy with excitement. When I got up to him, I asked him to please sign it on the sweet spot, and showered him with compliments. He didn't say a word to me, flipped the ball around and signed it on the side and grabbed the ball from the person behind me.
The next time I met Lofton was at this year's Tribe Fest. I coughed up the extra cash to get autographs from Lofton, Thome and Nagy. Thome was amazingly nice and chatty with the fans. Charles Nagy was nice as well. And then there was Kenny.
Word circulated throughout he line that Lofton would only sign the photographs that he brought. He sat behind the table, signing piles of autographs and shoving them forward so he could have as little fan interaction as possible.
I was infuriated. There are three Indians that I accept as cranky - Bob Feller (rest his soul), Albert Belle and Rocky Colavito. Bob Feller was a true war hero and in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The man earned his right to be cranky. Belle and his bicep have always been that way. It is part of his charm. Colavito got screwed out of the Hall of Fame. Lofton, however, hasn't done anything to endear him to the fans to put up with his crankapotamous ways. Yes, yes, I have fond memories of the 90s, but that and ten bucks will buy me a bleacher ticket if I get it early.
There are Tribe fans out there now that weren't even in elementary school when Lofton made his leaping catches against the wall. Who is buying Lofton shirts and jerseys? Waiting in line for his autograph? Old timers like me, that's who.
I like Swisher's attitude. Yes, he is the Energizer Bunny on a cocktail of Red Bull and Pixy Stix, but he has heart. He wants to see this team win. Lofton, well, all he seems to want is his paycheck at the next memorabilia signing.
I would love for Lofton to come around and embrace the current team, and the fans again. I would welcome him with open arms if he were only a little less of a jerk.