Monday, October 15, 2007 Updated: October 16, 10:33 AM ET
Third stint the charm for Lofton?
By Jim Caple ESPN.com
Kenny Lofton has played for so many teams in his 17-year career that DHL recently produced a pretty funny commercial about it. The commercial follows an employee frantically attempting to deliver Lofton's equipment to the next team to which he's rumored to be traded, only to have another team named when he gets there. Lofton's teammates, naturally, gave him a fair amount of grief about this whenever the commercial played in the clubhouse.
"We gave him some," Cleveland closer Joe Borowski said, "but there's a few of us getting up there in the number of teams we've played for, too, so we can't say too much."
Reliever Rafael Betancourt said he asked Lofton why he agreed to the commercial, and the veteran said he was proud of his career and all the postseason teams he's been with. Indeed, Lofton has played for six clubs in the postseason, including three different stints with Cleveland (1995-96, 1998-2001 and this year). Lofton has made his mark this series with two doubles in Game 1, a single in Game 2 and his biggest hit in Game 3 -- a two-run homer that gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead that the team never relinquished in a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox.
Lofton received a huge ovation when he stepped to the plate with two out and one on in the second inning, then drilled the next pitch from Daisuke Matsuzaka on a line to right-center. The ball just cleared the top of the fence above right fielder J.D. Drew for the home run.
"The fans are pretty excited when I come to the plate and that's a good thing for me," Lofton said. "I just try to enjoy it. And I also try to do something. Once you've got the fans out there cheering for you, you want to make something happen. And I just wanted to be aggressive at that point, and I got lucky."
Lofton began his career with Houston in 1991 (Curt Schilling earned the save for the Astros in Lofton's major league debut) and changed teams for the first time after just 20 games when the Astros sent him to Cleveland. He was one of the best leadoff men in baseball during Cleveland's heyday in the 1990s but has spent this decade on the road, changing teams nine times since 2001. In addition to the DHL commercial, the Red Sox ran a funny note on their scoreboard during one of Lofton's at-bats in the first game of the ALCS, writing simply, "Kenny has played for 10 other teams besides Cleveland in his career."
He started this season for Texas but Cleveland traded for him in late July. This is Lofton's 11th postseason in the past 13 years, but he has reached the World Series only twice and has never been on the winning team.
"I think I just go out there and just try to tell guys to just play the game the way it's supposed to be played and have fun with it," Lofton said. "And I think the guys are doing it, and I feel like I'm glad to be the guy going out there that's been through this before and able to tell these guys what it takes."
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.