Notes: Lofton longs for ring
Veteran makes 11th postseason appearances in 13 years
CLEVELAND -- Kenny Lofton has been telling his Indians teammates to seize the opportunity that is the postseason, because one never knows when it will come again.That might seem like strange advice from a guy who has had the luxury of playing in 11 postseasons in 13 years, but Lofton knows nothing is guaranteed in this game. All he has to do is look at the absence of World Series rings on his hands for proof of that. "That's what keeps me coming back," the 40-year-old Lofton said. "The reason I'm playing is the excitement that happens down the stretch." Lofton picked up his play down the stretch for this Indians club. From the time he was moved to the No. 7 spot of the lineup on Aug. 25, he hit .296 (29-for-98) with three triples and 14 RBIs. "He's been a boost for us," manager Eric Wedge said of Lofton, who was acquired shortly before the July 31 trading deadline. "We've used him primarily in the seven-hole, and it really gives the bottom half of the lineup an entirely different feel and look. Kenny's given us a lot more length to our lineup." The length of Lofton's career and his return to his Indians roots gives him a unique perspective in a Tribe clubhouse filled with players experiencing October for the first time. "These guys remind me of myself in '95, when I made it to the playoffs for the first time," Lofton said. Inevitably, people want Lofton to compare this team to that '95 club, which won 100 games in a 144-game regular season but fell in six games to the Braves in the World Series. Though this team certainly has its share of interesting personalities, nothing can compare to that '95 club, Lofton said. "What made '95 so special was we had so many characters," he said. "I felt sorry for [manager Mike] Hargrove. He understood he couldn't control us off the field. But on the field, he knew what we were trying to do." This installment of the Indians is little more down-to-earth. And Lofton wants them to stay that way in the playoffs. "I tell them to just play the game," Lofton said. "The media is going to make a big deal out of it, but if you look at it as a game, nothing will change." Here's the question ... In Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS between the Indians and Yankees, a pair of pitchers squared off who had also opposed each other in the 1988 playoffs. Can you name those two pitchers?
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.