Gordon Receives Personal Tutoring from one of the Game’s Best

Several years ago there was a very clever (and funny) DHL  television commercial that made light of former MLB veteran center fielder Kenny Lofton being traded so often that nobody, not even DHL, knew exactly where to ship his gear to next. And even though Lofton never actually appeared in the commercial (except in a background photograph), it was still a very successful ad campaign for the shipping company (and I assume that Kenny made a few bucks off of it too).

Although the commercial was made in jest, in reality Lofton had a brilliant 17-year career in the Majors while playing for 11 different teams, including three stints with the Cleveland Indians where he spent 10 of his 17 Big league seasons. He played one season (2006) with the Dodgers in which he hit .301 (141 for 469 ) in 129 games played and he was one of my favorite Dodger players that season (he would occasionally toss a ball up to me after his between-innings warm-ups with J.D. Drew).

The 6-time All-Star and 4-time Gold Glove Award winner played in a total of 2,103 games during his career, had 8,120 official At Bats (9,235 plate appearances), collected 2,428 hits including 383 doubles, 116 triples and 130 home runs, scored 1,528 Runs, had 781 RBIs and ended his career with an excellent .372 On-Base Percentage. When Loften retired in 2008, he did so with a very impressive .299 career batting average and 622 career stolen bases, which ranks 15th all-time in MLB history.

So what does Kenny Lofton have to do with the 2012 Dodgers, you ask? Plenty. Prior to Friday night’s game against the New York Mets, Lofton spent over an hour working with Dodger shortstop Dee Gordon on his hitting, bunting, and base running. Talk about a Jedi Master working with a young protégé.

Dodger shortstop Dee Gordon and former MLB great Kenny Lofton pack it in after working together for more than an hour prior to Friday night’s game.

To say that Dee Gordon needs the help is an understatement. In fact, when I mentioned to former MLB manager and current DodgerTalk Radio host Kevin Kennedy that Lofton had worked with Dee on his hitting prior to the game, Kennedy jokingly said “Ya, it helped a lot.” (Dee went 0 for 3 with a strikeout; but then the Dodgers only had three hits on the night against likely All-Star Game starter R.A. Dickey, who struck out 10). Kennedy then quickly pointed out in all seriousness that help from a guy like Kenny Lofton is a great thing, adding that “Dee is a work in progress.”

Whether Lofton’s personal tutoring will actually help the struggling Dodger shortstop or not remains to be seen, but no one can dispute that Dee is getting personal attention from one of the game’s best.

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4 Responses to “Gordon Receives Personal Tutoring from one of the Game’s Best”

  1. Evan Bladh says:

    It’s nice to see that Lofton is working with the club and Gordon in particular. I still can’t get over the fact that he was once a Giant. (Though Ned probably would have never signed him had he not been a former giant).

    It’s not as if Dee hasn’t gotten a lot of tutoring from some leadoff gurus in the past. (Wills, Lopes, and even Rickey Henderson a few weeks ago). I don’t think any of their advise can hurt too much, but is it possible that there are too many offering suggestions to this poor guy. Sometimes that can mess you up.

    A few weeks ago Mattingly was shaking his head when he saw Lofton talking to James Loney early in the season. Donnie thought that Loney was hitting the ball hard but the hits weren’t falling in and he hinted that too much suggestion and talk can mess someone up. I hope that’s not the case with Gordon.

    Dee isn’t the same type of hitter that a lot of these guys were. He’s a slap hitter that bunts and bangs pitches to the opposite field. He needs to hit the ball on the ground too. Lopes, Henderson and Lofton were all different. Wills is more along the line of the type of hitter that Dee is. I’m not sure if I’m making a good point here. Only that I think that Dee is a bit vulnerable to suggestion at the moment with his struggles. I’d hate for someone to try to make him a hitter that he really isn’t.

    • Evan Bladh says:

      Oh, by the way, Nice Scoop on this story. I’m glad you were there to pick it up. Why nobody else even noticed it is beyond me.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I’ll be honest, Evan, I completely missed the fact that Lofton had been previously spotted in the dugout giving pointers to Loney until you just mentioned it and I went back and found it in the L.A. Daily News. Apparently Lofton’s advice worked for James as he got hits in his first two ABs that day, but then…

      Interestingly, Lofton was also at the press conference when the new ownership group was introduced. Apparently Vin Scully introduced him as one of the former Dodgers in attendance that day but excluded him in the Dodger Greats group (and rightfully so). Lofton was very good during his one season with the Dodgers but I would never consider him a Dodger Great.

      I’m not sure if Lofton has a permanent position with the club or if he is freelancing or was personally invited by Dee or Hanny; but by gosh I recognized him when no one else did (thanks to Pete Bonfils, of course).

      PS: No one else reported on the Mark Ellis rehab game last night either, or than Stan Conte was there. Maybe I’m wrong here, but this is HUGE in my opinion; so much so that I opted to go to the Quakes game instead of the Dodger game on Saturday. I am doing so again on Sunday to further watch Ellis and also Javy Guerra. As I said, this is really big news in my opinion – but what ev.

  2. Bluenose Dodger says:

    Kenny Lofton is an interesting guy.I loved the way he and Devon White played the outfield. Lofton played with eleven different teams.

    I expect he is a good mentor for Dee but we thought that was Davy Lopes’ job. Dee is such a respectful kid that I expect he might go the opposite way of those young players who won’t take advice. That is, take all advice to heart and keep himself in a state of constant flux.

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