Sep
18

Nick Swisher can brighten up any clubhouse

By

It’s hard to imagine the 2009 Yankees without Nick Swisher. Relegated to fourth outfielder status heading into the season, Swisher became the full-time right fielder after Xavier Nady blew out his elbow and hasn’t looked back. He’s en route to what could be the best season of his career. His 59 extra base hits must have Kenny Williams wondering why the hell he traded him for Wilson Betemit and Jeff Marquez last winter.

The Yankees traded for Swisher because they thought they could get a productive player on the cheap. It was certainly a gamble of sorts, as Swisher had a horrible season in 2008. Not only did the Yanks win the gamble, but they got a dividend on their investment. Not only did they get a productive player, but they got a unique personality who brought life to the rigid Yankees clubhouse. That might not add to the team’s baseball output, but it sure makes for a great story.

Swisher is no stranger to stories. He played a big role in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball, the blue chip prospect that even Billy Beane, he who drafted Jeremy Brown in the first round, couldn’t pass up. Scouts and sabermetricians alike loved Swisher for his approach and his power, and it was only after a few breaks that he even fell to the A’s. Once he made the majors, it was inevitable that he’d become a reporter’s dream.

Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated captured Swisher perfectly with a lede he wrote in 2006:

Nick Swisher is good. He is home-run-beltin’, sideburn-wearin’, nonstop-talkin’, bear-hug-dispensin’, self-proclaimin’ good. His coaches know it, his teammates know it, and most of all Swisher knows it.

The sideburns don’t fly in the Bronx, but other than that Swisher is the same guy now as he was then. It seems as though the Yankees clubhouse has come to embrace it. They have been portrayed as a rigid bunch over the years, but the off-season additions, especially Swisher, have seemingly helped turn that around. At least Johnny Damon thinks so:

“He’s had an impact on the clubhouse,” adds Johnny Damon, whose locker is next to Swisher’s. “When I came over, I mean, this place was kinda dead, you know? I almost had to watch everything I said. I didn’t want to upset anyone. But having characters in here has helped everyone. It’s kind of like how Kevin Millar helped me in Boston – we changed the way things were in Boston, but it took another guy to put it full throttle.

“It’s completely different in here now. It’s great, we’re in this new stadium and there’s a lot of room to have fun.”

Even better is what Andy Pettitte has to say about young Swisher. “Nick loves to talk, that’s for sure.” This recalls one of my favorite Swisher stories of all time, as relayed by Ballard:

In college two of his teammates offered him $50 if he could stay quiet for a long bus ride back to Columbus. “It was the hardest thing for me to do. I wanted to just shoot myself,” he says. “But”–and here he brightens up–”I got my 50 bucks, boy!”

While this was meant to be an upbeat post about the most ebullient Yankee, Swisher’s charity work also deserves a nod. He has his own charity, Swish’s Wishes, which is “dedicated to enriching lives and lifting the spirits of children who are facing vital health issues while providing care, comfort and support through the most difficult of times.” He also works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and has donated hair to women who have lost theirs from cancer treatments — an homage to his grandmother, Betty Swisher, who died of brain cancer in 2005. A list of Swisher’s charity work is available on his website.

It might be early morning, but hey, it’s a Friday, so I propose a toast to Nick Swisher. The Yanks got him for next to nothing, and he’s been an important cog in a high-powered offense. Whether he’s slamming a walk-off home run or taking a key walk, Swisher is contributing to this offense and to the clubhouse. So let’s crown his ass. He is who he thought he was.

A great big Swisher bear hug to The Yankees Universe for the tip.

Categories : Players

142 Comments»

  1. JSquared says:

    A Toast To Nick!!

  2. Nady Nation says:

    This post is Swishalicious.

  3. pete c. says:

    I love the guy, but when somebody hits a ball to right it’s almost as scary as when Reggie was out there.

    • Robinson Cano says:

      dude.. we have never had a good right fielder.. off the top of my head i can think of maris and thats it. jackson no, oniel my fav. player ever but no. sheffield? haha. abreu? no thanks. Mondesi? yeah like i said… oh wait jon vanderwal? yeaahhhh.. dont complain about swish’s defense. the yankees have always lacked outfield defense (see johnny damon or chuck knoblough)

  4. the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

    It might be early morning, but hey, it’s a Friday, so I propose a toast to Nick Swisher.

    Here here!

    {sips espresso}

  5. Nick Swisher’s sister lost her virginity. Nick got it back for her.

  6. Makavelli says:

    Brodie: T.S. Quint, meet Nick Swisher. They call him Swish “the dish”…

    Nick Swisher: Nobody calls me that…

  7. DRU says:

    LOVE SWISHER!!! Great move buying low on him. The White Sox abused him, batting him in all 9 spots last year. Great move getting him for Marquez ( who has done nothing so far for the Sox ). Love his power, his eye, love the way he works the count and LOVE is attitude! He’s the perfect fit for this club.

    He may be one of my favorite non-dynasty Yankees.

    • The White Sox abused him, batting him in all 9 spots last year.

      Pssst… we’ve batted him in 7 spots this year. I’m just saying.

      I’ll agree with you, though, that they abused him and we haven’t. That’s the difference between a manager like Joe Girardi, who’s biggest transgression is not liking ice cream in the clubhouse, and Ozzie Guillen, who’s biggest transgression is that he enjoys flinging his poo on his players (probably).

  8. Makavelli says:

    In all seriousness, Nick Swisher has been nothing less than a blessing in disguise. The guy absolutely lightened this clubhouse up and you can tell they are more relaxed. As much as I never really saw “chemistry” as this uber-important quality of a ballclub…in this case…it has made the team relaxed and laid back enough to roll with the punches and not let little things bring them down.

    You accompany this with Alex Rodriguez staying under the radar and you have a baseball team that just comes to play baseball…and with the squad that we have out there…when you mix it all together…you have yourself one scary legion of players out there…and if everybody wasn’t aware…they are now.

  9. DRU says:

    Nick Swisher is #1 in the league in pitches per plate appearance.

  10. Swisher is contributing to this offense and to the clubhouse. So let’s crown his ass. He is who he thought he was.

    WE LET HIM OFF THE HOOK!!!

    Sincerely,
    Kenny Williams

  11. alex gonzalez says:

    i still cant believe that we basically traded the value of a bag of balls for swisher. he is an energetic guy. i wish he hit a bit more for average, but he has so much power and sees a lot of pitches. i cant believe the gm that traded him still has a job. he brings a lot to a team. look where the white sox are without him. he definitely has the ability to help rally other players and lighten the mood. plus he is even a good pitcher. with our luck that one prospect kid will develop into the ace of the white sox. but at least we got a guy who is fun to be around and isnt a clubhouse cancer like some of the hired guns the yankees have picked up over the years.

    • i cant believe the gm that traded him still has a job.

      Yeah, it’s crazy.

      In a related story, I can’t believe Brian Cashman still has a job, because if he was any good instead of the total dumbass that he is, he would have already acquired Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Justin Verlander, Scott Feldman, Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, Pablo Sandoval, Prince Fielder, Mike Young, Ichiro, Matt Holliday, and Erick Aybar.

      On second thought, he would have acquired Chase Utley, not Erick Aybar. My bad.

      Sincerely,
      alex gonzalez

    • jsbrendog says:

      marquez 2009 aaa at age 24:
      2-8 9.85 era 2.058 whip in 11 starts.
      1.23 k/bb ratio

      career 45-48 with 4.07 era 1.441 whip.

      ace he will not be

      • alex gonzalez says:

        that is normal struggle for a young pitcher. he still could become an ace.

        /RAB’d

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Except Marquez is terrible because he’s never shown the ability to miss bats. I was never a fan, then after he did well in AA I bought in, but he made me look like an idiot.

          That asshole.

          • alex gonzalez says:

            oh yeah i remember how you said the definition of insane would be trading marquez for damaso marte. marquez for swisher was definitely the right move.

        • Mattingly's Love Child says:

          So let me get this straight, if a prospect struggles for the Yankees he’s a bust? But if they trade him and he struggles, he may come back to be an ace?

          No one with any intelligence on this blog ever thought Marquez was worth much of anything. Patience isn’t needed where there is no talent.

          • You’re wrong.

            Marquez may come back to be an ace because he has the ability to win games. Pitchers who win games are aces. Like, for example, Scott Feldman, who is clearly one of the five best pitchers in all of baseball since he has 16 wins and only 5 losses, which is why I included him on my “dream team” with Verlander, Sabathia, Carpenter, and Wainwright – a team, mind you, where I can choose WHOMEVER THE FUCK I WANT BECAUSE THERE’S NO EXPECTATION OF SAID PLAYERS ACTUALLY BEING ATTAINABLE.

            I’d take Scott Feldman over Greinke, King Felix, Lincecum, Cain, Lester, Hamels, Jurjjens, Josh Johnson, Halladay, Beckett, Kershaw, Jimenez, Haren, Webb, Gallardo, Volquez, and all the rest of those losers in a New York Minute. Because the only thing that is important is wins. Stats don’t always tell the whole story, but wins tell you the outcome if the game, which is important.

            Sincerely,
            alex gonzalez

            • Robinson Cano says:

              if you would honestly take scott feldman over tim lincecum you are a damn fool. I would love to be a GM in any fucking league u ever did and i would completely annialate your team on any meeting. You are a DUMBASS!!!!! look who scott feldman plays for. look at their offense. look at the run support he gets.. look who tim lincecum plays for. look at their offense. look at the run support he gets. then compare win totals. then compare personal stats. put them both on the yankees and see how those stats play out…. by the way same goes with king felix.. i demand u recant that statement. actualy no, go with it. then have a fantasy league for money. and let me be in it. so i can take ur money. and burn it in ur face, which would be about as retarded as you taking feldman over lincecum. YOU ARE AN IDIOT. you make America look weak. you give baseball fans a bad name. i dont even know what insult i could possibly throw at you that would equal your stupidity. to make a statement like that is completely rediculous. no one in their right mind would ever in hell take scott fucking feldman over tim lincecum, or probably any of those pitchers on that list. feldman is a product of his enviornment. lincecum is a once in a generation pitcher that will be an ace for years to come he is a freak of nature and ur a freakin retard.

            • Robinson Cano says:

              you are a fool. i would take every single one of those pitchers over feldmen.. who are you? some nerd that has 60 fantasy teams that sucks at drafting and picked up feldmen when he had 12 wins so u worship him? what are you some gay that has a crush on feldmen? please tell me.. i really dont understand.. i could put up with u saying u want him over webb or cain maybe.. but kershaw? gallardo? felix? really? can u send me some of whatever ur smoking please? wait.. can someone else on this board tell me they agree with him? i mean i read these articles all the time and even the comments when i have time.. but ive never commented myself.. ive never felt the need. generally the fans see my point and i dont have to express it personally.. but this is rediculous i felt absolutely compelled to say somthing. let me know how everyone else feels cuz i think i must be hallucinating (sp?) il be back after a few more beers. Lince K>

      • To be fair, Jhonny Nunez is actually have a good year and has pitched some big league innings this year.

        ML: 5 G, 3.2 IP, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.45 ERA
        MiL: 42 G, 70.2 IP, 26 BB, 79 SO 2.55 ERA

        • Mattingly's Love Child says:

          I’ll take a corner OF bat w/ average defense in exchange for a middle reliever/setup guy any day though.

          • Well, yeah, haha. I’m just saying it may not be a total bust for the White Sox, though it’s pretty much looking that way now.

            • Mattingly's Love Child says:

              Yes, the White Sox did get something of value. And since Ozzie had this weird obsession with hating Nick Swisher, it probably worked out for the best for both teams.

              • jsbrendog says:

                but if kanekoa texera ever pitches in the majors he and nunez are a wash haha…

                but again, at the time regardless of how it turned out it was a steal for the yankees. it is only looking better and better as time goes on.

                i love how cashman made williams throw in SOMEONE ELSE ontop os swisher for that crap. priceless.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          And the Yanks got him originally for Alberto Gonzalez, who was 1/4 of the haul for Randy Johnson.

          Wait a second …

          If Randy Johnson was the haul for Javier Vazquez, Dioner Nwvarro, and Brad Halsey, and Javy Vazquez was the haul for Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate …

          AND Wilson Betemit was acquired for Scott Proctor, who was half the haul for Robin Ventura, who was traded for David Justice, who was traded for Zach Day, Ricky Ledee, and Jake Westbrook, who was traded for Hideki Irabu.

          That means … wait … Cashman really traded Hideki Irabu, Zach Day, Ricky Ledee, Randy Choate, Juan Rivera, Nick Johnson, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro, and Jeff Marquez for Swisher and Kanekoa Texeira.

          Wow, he really is the sux0r.

  12. OmgZombies says:

    Nick Swishe>>>Bag of balls>>>>Kick in Face>>>>Wilson Betemit

  13. St Nick says:

    Here is a list of the real reason we should be loving this guy

    *Established the Nick Swisher Foundation and “Swish’s Wishes” foundation in 2007 to assist children with life-threatening illnesses.

    *Organized his first Swish’s Wishes Celebrity Cruise in January 2009.

    *Hosted Swish’s Wishes Days in Chicago in 2008, where kids in need would be his guest to the game and visit with him on the field.

    *Was a regular visitor at children’s hospitals in Chicago.*Supports Lynn Sage Cancer Center in Chicago.

    *Dyed his goatee pink on Mother’s Day to raise awareness for breast cancer and blue on Father’s Day to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

    *Provides holiday gifts and a party for mentally challenged children at Janet Pomeroy School in San Francisco.

    *Supports UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, where he served as the honorary chairman for the 2007 Macy’s Tree Lighting Ceremony.

    *Has also funded programs at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland and frequently reads books to children in the hospital.

    *Teamed with Columbia Pictures in 2007 to host a private screening of the movie “Water Horse: Legend of the Deep” for 400 sick and low-income Bay Area children.

    *Participates in Strikeouts for Troops, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to our wounded war veterans and their children by providing “comforts of home” while they recover in military hospitals nationwide.

    *Toured U.S. bases in Spain, Greece and Italy on a goodwill mission to visit American soldiers and their families stationed abroad.

    *Helped fund two programs for children in need at Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. *Participated in adopting 25 military families in need and provided Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner as well as Christmas gifts for the children in 2007 and 2008.

    *Threw out the first pitch to eight-year-old Adam Bender on 7/1/08 vs. Cleveland… Bender lost his leg to cancer at the age of 1 and was flown from Kentucky to Chicago with his parents, older brother and younger sister by Swisher’s foundation to celebrate the one-year anniversary of “Swish’s Wishes.” Bender plays catcher for his Little League team in Lexington, KY. Swisher provided Bender with a personalized White Sox jersey and a bat autographed by the team.

    *In honor of his grandmother, Betty, who lost her battle with cancer in 2005, Nick joined as an ambassador to the EIF Foundation and the Women’s Cancer Research Fund.

    *Went without a haircut for nearly one year in 2007 as part of the non-profit Pantene Beautiful Lengths program that encourages people to grow, cut and donate their hair to create live hair wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments… his father, Steve, made the “kindest cut of all” on the field in Oakland on 5/19/07, cutting Nick’s hair to be donated to the program.

    *Also supports childhood diabetes, prostate and breast cancer, and the Special Olympics.

    *Was the Athletics’ 2007 Roberto Clemente Award nominee.

  14. Brian R says:

    To Swish! Cheers!

  15. Tank Foster says:

    He’s a great guy. My brother thinks the clubhouse change attributable to Swisher and maybe also Burnett has had the nice effect of taking pressure off ARod. I think he’s right about that. They are more of a team than they have been in years. While we’re toasting Swish, let’s add one for Cashman, Wilson Betemit, and Ozzie Guillen.

  16. Nick Swisher, August and September 2009 – 179 PA, .291/.393/.563 (.956)

  17. Fun Fact #2: Swisher’s post-ASB .967 OPS (.285/.397/.570) is 6th best in the AL (behind only Mauer, Miggy, Kendrick(?!?!), Ol’ Dead Squirrel Beard, and Michael Young) and best on the Yankees (Tex and Cano are right behind him).

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/b...../minpa/100

  18. yankeegirl49 says:

    I liked Nick since his Oakland days. I was quite happy when we got him for next to nothing. With that said, he exceeded every expectation I had for him.

    When the site to have him on the all star ballot was created, I went and read the comments. There were a lot from A’s fans and even some WS fans saying how they loved him and would be voting for him. Some even said they would be rooting for the Yanks because of him. Says a lot about a guy when fans from his former teams still support him.

  19. I’m just like Swisher in that I don’t stop talking. When I was 4 or 5, my mother paid me a quarter to stay quiet at a doctor’s appointment. I think I got gypped.

  20. Zack says:

    Ha, could you imagine Swisher trying not to talk on a bus ride back?

  21. Remember all the debates in these here parts about how Nady was better than Swisher and that Swisher wouldn’t be able to handle a starting job?

  22. Tank Foster's Braindead Alter-Ego says:

    THE LOSER HAS MORE STRIKEOUTS THAN HITS. I JUST DON’T LIKE PLAYERS WHO DO THAT, I DON’T CARE WHAT THERE OPS OR POPS OR WARZ ARE!!!!!!!! AND HE LOOKS LIKE SPECIAL OLYMPICS IN THE OF AND RUNNING THE BASES. LET’S GET SOME GUYS WHO CAN LAY DOWN A BUNT, OK?

  23. Tank Foster says:

    Sorry about that guy. We call him Fank Toster around my house.

  24. RCK says:

    Here, here!!! SWISHER!!!

    That’s all I have to add. I just really love Nick Swisher.

  25. Tom Zig says:

    Nick Swisher is rumored to be dating Joanna Garcia.

  26. Jim says:

    He, AJ and whoever else has been a part of the fun crowd have made this team more fun to root for than any of the past 3-4 years.

    They actually seem to enjoy winning as opposed to it just being part of their day to day job. And I know, act like you’ve been there, but seeing the mosh pits around home plate every other day(or so it seems) is really refreshing. Regardless of post-season success, it has been a LOT of fun rooting for the yankees this year, so, Swisher, I tip my hat to you.

  27. Karl W says:

    I love Swish. A toast to the dude . . .

  28. Marsha says:

    I heart Nick Swisher. I’m getting a #33 Nick Swisher t-shirt for a Chanukah present (hint, hint).

  29. miketotheg says:

    swish is the man.

    Could this be a post about team chemistry?

    ok back to the charts. . . . . .

  30. mryankee says:

    Nick Swisher has been more than what could have been expected. Aj I will be more exicted about his contributions if they come on the field. Big start tonight against King Felix, I dont believe Branyan in lineup good time for Aj to pitch well.

  31. Riddering says:

    I’m looking forward to Swisher breaking out Thunderbolt for the WS.

  32. Karen says:

    Swishman rocks

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