Nick Swisher reportedly confronted Kenny Lofton over playoff comments

Kenny-Lofton-IndiansThe Cleveland Indians technically made the MLB playoffs in 2013, though they only got the chance to play one postseason game. The Indians were one of the two Wild Card teams the MLB’s new format supports, and they wound up losing to the Tampa Bay Rays. Because they were one-and-done, Cleveland legend Kenny Lofton does not consider the 2013 Indians a playoff team.

“A playoff is a series, not one game,” Lofton said when the Indians’ season ended last year. “It’s not the Super Bowl.”

As you might expect, some members of the team disagreed. One of them was veteran outfielder Nick Swisher, and he was not shy about letting Lofton hear know. According to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, Swisher went “nose-to-nose” with Lofton at the Tribe’s Fan Fest in January.

Swisher took it a step further. He sought Lofton out at the event, got in the grill of the member of the team Hall of Fame, and told him, in so many words, that the Indians are trying to build something special, and that if Lofton didn’t want to be a part of it, he ought to board the first flight back to Los Angeles.

Lofton spent nine-plus seasons with the Indians and is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame. Swisher is one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball and happens to be one of the leaders of a Cleveland team that won 92 games under Terry Francona last season after winning just 68 in 2012.

“That was handled,” Swisher later said when asked about Lofton’s remarks. “We handled that.”

Last month, Lofton visited the Indians’ spring training facility in Arizona. He was reportedly ignored by multiple members of the team and did not stay long. Despite that, he has not softened his stance on the 2013 Indians not being a playoff team.

“Maybe someone else can back me up on how it’s not a real playoff series,” Lofton wrote in a text message to Castrovince. “U guys need to put in there on what’s the definition of playoffs, and that should answer Swisher’s comments.”

While they only play one game to determine who advances to the next round, both Wild Card teams are playoff teams by definition. The Indians, who had the fourth-best record in the American League last year, would have been the only Wild Card team and had a spot in the ALDS under the old format. Lofton can either get on board with that or risk alienating a fan base that thinks very highly of him.

H/T Hardball Talk

Around The Web

  • kennyloftonsmom

    Kenny who? Seriously.. he was a good ballplayer, but not great.. and I imagine he would have reacted the same way if he were still a player and some old timer came along and started bad mouthing his team…. screw Kenny Lofton.. did he ever win a WS? No.. he didn’t. which is why he’s whining so much…. nuff said.

  • MODI

    “Lofton can either get on board with that or risk alienating a fan base that thinks very highly of him.”

    That is how this piece is ended? So Lofton’s words are more offensive than Swisher’s completely unprofessional behavior to the slightest criticism? A so-called good clubhouse guy would have handled this differently. A good clubhouse guy would have had more respect for the work Lofton has done with Indians. Derek Jeter is a good clubhouse guy and would have never had done that. Once Swisher started to act like a fool, it no longer matters whether Lofton’s words were technically true or not. This article missed the real story.

  • Todd

    It’s not a real playoff series. Nobody will remember the Indians as a playoff team. Nobody even remembers the wild card games. the playoff series are the NLCS and ALCS.

  • Bellskinno

    definitely not a playoff game , it was a wildcard game to decide who makes the playoffs

  • jim

    they were a playoff team…the one and done format is lame for a team that played hard and deserved more…it comes down to who’s ace pitcher has a better day….always liked kenny lofton… till now …it was an ignorant thing to say kenny you should make it right with the team.

  • brianshannon

    The problem is not Kenny but Nick and the Indians hyper sensitivity on the subject….they weren’t in a playoff series and shouldn’t be telling people that they were. Kenny just pointed out that they were in a postseason game to go to a playoff series. Where is the bad mouth in that? Where is he wrong in that statement? He isn’t, he’s right….but just because he clarifies his statement doesn’t mean he is bad mouthing them. It’s like calling the Super Bowl a playoff series….its one game. Kenny has been in plenty of playoff series and a couple of World Series he knows the difference and Nick should too since he was on the Yanks in 09.

  • playedthegame

    Sounds about right to me.

  • playedthegame

    He told it like it was & “is”!

  • edge 031

    I agree with Kenny Lofton, baseball playoffs is a series! I don’t recognize the indians as a playoff team last year. they played 1 game to make the playoffs, I think MLB needs to change that! However, I love the fact that Swisher got in Kenny’s grill. I think that showed his teammates that he has their back. @kennyloftonsmom:disqus dont kid yourself, kenny was one of the best leadoff hitters & center fielders during his time. We have yet to have anyone as good as him!

  • thegloriousone

    The Indians should have been a playoff team, but the ridiculous one and done format the league implemented cost them that status.

    That being said, Kenny is right. A wildcard game does not a playoff team make.

  • Topazinator

    These people simply can’t keep their mouths shut. Send him to China.