Kenny Lofton: “Give the [team] a break, give them a chance, and see what happens.”
Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame member Kenny Lofton spent time at Progressive Field for the induction of Gaylord Perry. Lofton, a former outfielder, caught up with TribeVibe during the Tribe’s weekend series versus Boston.
TribeVibe: Where are you now?
Kenny Lofton: I live in LA, and I have a production company called Filmpool. I try to make reality TV shows, commercials, and videos.
TV: Is it good to be back in Cleveland?
KL: It’s fun to come back and see some of the fans. When you see them, they still remember the 90s, and it’s kind of exciting. [An Asdrubal Cabrera home run momentarily interrupts the interview, and Lofton provides TribeVibe with the play-by-play.] It’s very exciting because it was a very exciting time for the city, and the city hasn’t been that excited in a while. It’s good to be back.
TV: What do you think of Michael Brantley?
KL: He’s a good kid, and I can say ‘kid’ because I’m old. He’s a great kid; he has great ability. He just needs to work on being consistent in his game. To have a good career, you have to be consistent. He’s on his way. I like his game. He’s a good guy, first of all. When you are just a nice all-around guy, that helps you in the long run with trying to understand. Just being a good person will help your game on the field as well.
TV: What is it like being reunited with Sandy Alomar and other former players?
KL: It’s always good to see Sandy; I talk to Sandy all the time. He’s just a great guy. It’s just good to come back and talk to them and see what’s going on. You talk to the guys and ask how the [current Indians] are. They’re trying, but it just isn’t working out right now.
TV: Does your conversation with former teammates pick up right where you left it?
KL: Yeah, it’s easy. First of all, because you talk baseball. Baseball hasn’t changed; it’s just the days changed. Sandy and I talk more than baseball. We talk life and see how the family’s doing and stuff like that. It’s good, but it’s fun.
TV: What are your thoughts on the current Indians team?
KL: I see that they have a lot of talent, but they just need to put it together and need to make a few adjustments here and there. Until they make those adjustments, it’s going to be tough.
TV: What kind of qualities do you look for in a championship team?
KL: For me, I look for a team that’s going to play together. Also, each individual has to know their role and know their part. If you only concentrate on your part and your role, it’s not a hard thing to figure out. I think a lot of people are trying to worry about everyone else’s job, and if you worry about your own job, things will work out. That’s how you become a champion — everyone’s doing their part.
TV: Describe what the relationship was like between the players, fans, and the community back in the 90s. Has that changed much?
KL: I am not here enough to understand that. I understand that the fans are not here, and I understand that they want a winning team on the field. When you have a winning team on the field, the fans come out. From the players’ standpoint, you have to win to have that happen because the city of Cleveland has been disappointed so many times. When you win and you lose, you win and you lose, they’re looking for a team that’s going to win and give them hope. That’s where you also have to get out into the community and do some things to get the fans excited about what’s going on out here [on the field]. If you’re not always winning, [the fans] also want to be personable with the players to feel like they’re a part of the team as well. If you do that, that will make the fans in the community feel like they’re a part of you. They’ll just come out just to hang out with you guys.
TV: What advice would you give to Cleveland fans right now?
KL: Be patient and understand that these guys are out here working hard and playing hard. If you guys have the opportunity to come out here and see them play, you’ll see that they’re trying hard. The only thing they can go out and do is try, and if the fans see that they are trying, give them a break, give them a chance, and see what happens.
-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor