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Nick Swisher got in Kenny Lofton’s face at the Indians’ Fan Fest

Mar 18, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

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If this was reported at the time I missed it, but Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com has an interesting story about a dustup between former Indians great Kenny Lofton and current Indians leader Nick Swisher back in January.

The upshot: following Lofton’s comments that the 2013 Indians weren’t truly a playoff team because the Wild Card game didn’t really count in his mind, several Indians players were unhappy. When Lofton arrived for FanFest, Swisher went nose-to-nose with him. It was described as “intense.” Since then, Castrovince reports, Indians players have been cold to Lofton, largely ignoring him during his visit to spring training in Goodyear recently.

It’s certainly an interesting dynamic. On the one hand you don’t want to turn one of your franchise’s all-time greats into an enemy. On the other hand, a franchise’s all-time great shouldn’t be in the business of disparaging the current team’s accomplishment. Al Kaline hangs around the Tigers clubhouse all the time and you don’t hear him saying that the 2012 team sucked because they lost the World Series.

You have to figure someone in ownership will try to smooth things over at some point. Or you at least hope they would.

  1. gothapotamus90210 - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Nick harnessed his innermost bro and put on his best pinny for the confrontation.

  2. karlkolchak - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    While I agree with Lofton that the new wild card play in game is GAR-BAGE that cheapens the regular season, it isn’t the team’s fault that they fought hard to qualify to play in the game and I would still congratulate them.

    • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      Disagree. The second wild-card game actually improves, not cheapens the regular season. It automatically eliminates one wild-card team, and makes it more difficult for the winner to advance, having most likely already spent their ace.

      The original set-up was much more favorable to wild-card teams. If you choose to dislike wild-cards of any kind, I get it, but the new system is an improvement.

      • johnnynewguy - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:55 PM

        That would be completely wrong in my opinion. To take a 162 game season and boil it down to a five game series is bad enough. But to have a full 162 game season come down to a one game playoff is just flat crazy. I want the best teams possible to be playing for the championships. Having a one game playoff ensures that random things can happen to screw up the game. Over a long series like 7 games random things can still occur but their likelihood of changing the outcome of a whole series is drastically lessened.

      • spudchukar - Mar 21, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        A team has 162 games to avoid the 1 game wild card scenario. The team that gets the “bye”, has earned it. Wild card teams should be “penalized”.

        I too would like to see divisional series expanded to 7 games, for the reasons you state, but the wild card is a different issue. If MLB is going to have it, then teams should have to overcome longer odds. It makes it more fair.

  3. Rich Stowe - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    you know it’s bad when Nick Swisher is upset…that guy is never mad

    • theman1932 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      He probably told Lofton “Don’t do that.”

      There’s a reason players vote him as the fakest player in baseball. He puts on an act, but he continues to show what a jerk he is.

      • El Bravo - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        Thank you. Nick Swisher is a world-class douchenozzle.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Technically nothing the Indians did while Lofton was the really happened because they didn’t win anything.

  5. danradin - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Disturbing the peace in Brohio: that’ll cost you a 12-pack of PBR, brah.

  6. annapterp - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Lofton is right! If a team loses the wild card “play in” game they really didn’t make the playoffs.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Statistically speaking, the Wild Card game counts towards playoff statistics, so it is a playoff game.

      • chunkala - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        True, but will you really still take Wild Card seriously when MLB adopts the NBA and NHL 16 team formats? You know we’re heading there.

  7. therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    Poor Kenny seems like he’s never gotten over their many epic postseason disappointments. I fondly remember their 23-7 shellacking against the Sox in ’99 as they blew a 2-0 series lead, culminating with Pedro no hitting them for 6 innings of relief as Kenny rolled on the dirt with his dislocated shoulder in the decisive game 5.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Sucker. Unable to handle Pedro Martinez.

      What a chump!

    • 18thstreet - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Man, that 1999 Indians team. Amazing offense. And their starting rotation had three pitchers in it — Burba, Colon, and Nagy. Dwight Gooden and Jaret Wright got the 4th and 5th most starts on that team, and each had an ERA over 6.

      John Hart was the GM for that team. I don’t understand how he didn’t find an adequate 4th starter for the playoffs. Malpractice. Colon started game four (the blowout) on 3-days rest. I could be misremembering this, but they had NO OTHER option. If the Indians had some replacement player to give them 5 innings, the Indians win that series when Colon pitches game five instead of four.

  8. thecheetahisthefastestrunninganimal - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Lofton has always been known as a horrible, extremely abrasive person, so this comes as no surprise. I still remember when he ran towards Josh Beckett, then changed course at the last second when he realized that Beckett would mop the floor with him. The guy sucks.

    • largebill - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      I’m biased as an Indians fan, but always found Lofton to be an outgoing friendly guy who interacts well with the fans.

      • yahmule - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        I thought he was both abrasive and friendly.

  9. florida76 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    It’s amazing to think the Cleveland Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, even worse, the City of Cleveland hasn’t captured the biggest prize in any major pro sport since 1964! And that streak will continue for quite some time.

    • jerze2387 - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      Hey now…im sure somewhere the browns are going to the super bowl soon.

      (lets see who gets it)

  10. schlom - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Finally proof that Craig is a racist. He’s fine with the Indian players being upset with Kenny Lofton but thought the Braves players were wrong for being mad at Chipper Jones.

    • johnnynewguy - Mar 21, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      I don’t think racism has anything to do with it. Chipper was asked for his opinion about how the series would go. Lofton, while he could have been asked about the wild card game as well, was, it seems, commenting on how dumb the new format is. Chipper was correct in being upset because he had just retired was being snubbed for nothing. (especially since it ended up being right.) Lofton is right as well in that the single game really isn’t the actual playoffs but more of a play-in type of game.

      • waltcoogan - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        Well-said, dude.

  11. largebill - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    The best way for this to play out is for Lofton to comeback and fill in as LF while Brantley shifts to CF with Bourn nursing a sore hamstring. Puts Lofton back on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2019.

  12. El Bravo - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Nick Swisher sucks balls.

  13. sfm073 - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    A one game playoff game isn’t making the playoffs.

  14. tonybot3 - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Team Kenny here… i don’t know the context, but i’m guess he didn’t mean it disparagingly. Losing a Wild Card playoff game is a far cry from Kenny’s 1995 squad.

  15. joeyj1414 - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Lofton is Cleveland Indians Royalty….
    Swisher is a D-bag…
    Its called a “play-in” game; Hence you have to win to “get-in” to the playoffs;
    I tell you what, When Swisher can bat his own weight he can talk, until then hit the cages you over paid scrub.
    xoxo

  16. donjsmith - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    seems like some of you think Nick’s a jackass, and some think Kenny is a jerk… let me clear this up for you guys…
    they’re both douches…
    but in this case, Nick is right… Kenny’s thoughts on the playoffs may be valid, and I get that… but there was no reason for him to verbalize them in a manner which comes across as demeaning to the guys on the Indians roster last season…
    any person with a modicum of class would have simply said the Indians had a great year and that he hoped they’d play well enough this season to avoid the extra game…

  17. mikeinthevine - Mar 31, 2014 at 4:04 AM

    Everyone is missing the point. The ONLY reason that extra game was added was MONEY. The used car salesman that acts as commissioner is a joke.

  18. nikedunks13 - May 4, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    Nick Swisher is a huge dbag

  19. waltcoogan - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Swisher is just childish. Lofton is not a current member of the team, just an alum. Lofton’s opinion about the cheapness of the current playoff format is legitimate, and if Swisher doesn’t like it, he should respect Lofton’s seniority and focus on actually winning the division this time.

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