July 27th, 2007 marks the return of Kenny Lofton (for the third time) as a Cleveland Indian. Sitting in the left field stands, I had not heard yet that Kenny was back, although there had been much speculation over the last two weeks that a deal may be in the works. As I viewed the players sprinting on the outfield grass as the ground crew put their finishing touches on the magnificent Jacob’s Field infield, I heard a huge roar of the crowd for a speedster in uniform #7. I looked and saw a very familiar, smiling face. The buzz in the stands was that Kenny was back and we practically stole him in the deal. I immediately pulled out my PDA and searched for the official word. There it was, Lofton returns in exchange for single “A” catcher Max Ramirez. Ben Francisco was optioned to “AAA” Buffalo to make room while Cliff Lee also was shuffled off to Buffalo and Edward Mujica would temporarily take Lee’s spot on the roster. Whew! People come and go so quickly around here, especially when you are self-removed from the media for a good part of the day.
But it’s all good! Lee will get straightened out and be back in fine form, good luck Cliff. Ben Francisco will be back for sure to help this team, although he has drawn much attention from other teams with his immediate heroics upon being called up weeks ago.
Kenny Lofton is back!
As the starting lineup was announced, K-Lo (as he has quickly been nicknamed) received a huge roar from the crowd. As he took his place in left field, he received another huge ovation. Then, upon his first at bat in the first inning, the crowd rose to their feet and wouldn’t stop screaming until he took off his batting helmet and gratefully acknowledged his fans.
Lofton went 3 for 5 in his debut. His second at bat ignited a 6 run rally with a high chop bunt that loaded the bases. He looked very sharp in left field. Between innings, he could be seen arm in arm with Grady Sizemore and lightly rough-housing with prankster Trot Nixon. Lofton seemed to ignite the entire team with his high energy approach to the game. Nixon went 3 for 4, Sizemore 1 for 2 with 2 walks, Hafner 2 for 4, Peralta 2 for 5 with 2 homers, and Blake and Barfield both 2 for 4. Then when the game was well in hand, Franklin Gutierrez replaced Sizemore in center and Lofton appeared to be sharing his experience and wisdom with the young star. At the end of the game, Kenny was interviewed in the post-game show and was quickly initiated with a strawberry cream pie by Nixon.
The best part of all of this is the fact that Lofton missed Cleveland. This is where he became an all-star center fielder, golden-glover, league leading base stealer, and .300+ hitter. Lofton has made it clear that his dream is to finish his career with a championship ring. Kenny Lofton’s dream fits all of our dreams. Kenny Lofton is a great fit for this team…buckle up!