Jobu gives an early goodbye to one of his favorite Yankees of the last four years.
I’ve always liked Nick Swisher. I really have. I know he’s had his post season struggles, but since he joined the team, he has become one of my favorite Yankees personalities of all time. Sure, he might be a bit of a douche, but he’s our douche. He plays the game with such a joy that you really can tell that he loves being a baseball player for a living. He also clearly loves being a Yankee, which is unfortunate… cuz I’m pretty sure there’s no way he’s ever wearing this uniform again.
Strangely enough, it wasn’t his horrific post season play that finally shoved me off the Swisher bandwagon. Sure, I had already decided in my mind that the I didn’t want the Yankees to bring him back, but it was his comments to the media after game two that really soured me on the man John Sterling calls “Simply Swishalicious.” After the Yankees embarrassing loss to the Tigers in game two of the ALCS, Swisher criticized Yankees fans for booing him. I don’t want o arouse any ill will without full documentation, so here’s his actual quote:
“The last thing that I ever thought would be in this ballpark, that people would get on you that bad. Especially your home, where your heart is, where you’ve been battling and grinding all year long. It’s just frustrating, man. You never want to be in that spot. It’s not like you’re trying to go out there and do bad on purpose. It’s just tough, man.”
Swisher even refused to do his traditional salute to the Bleacher Creatures during the first inning roll call because he was “stung” by their words… Is Swisher really trying to play victim here? Sure, the comments about him causing the Derek Jeter injury are a little out of line (I mean everyone knows it was Ibañez’s game-tying homer that caused that injury anyway), but is he seriously wondering why fans aren’t cheering him on every time he comes up to bat? Does he really question why fans are yelling mean things to him when he takes the field in right? Seriously? If he goes to Boston in the off-season (as rumors say he might), does he think he won’t get booed there for playing like crap? Is any fan base worth it’s salt going to tolerate this kind of play?
Could it be that he’s 4 for 36 in this post season with one RBI? Could it be all the strike outs, popups and double plays with men on base? Could it be the terrible defense he’s been playing since his bat disappeared? I mean seriously, other than the heads up throw he made to nail Berry after he rounded second base too far in the eighth inning of game two (Berry was called safe despite being out by five feet, of course), he’s been pretty terrible the last few games. He lost that ball in the lights that basically cost the Yankees game one. People lose balls in the lights all the time, but it’s still a play he should be making as a major leaguer, sorry Swish.
I think what’s been bothering me most about this whole Swisher slum is that he’s still the happiest guy out on the field. When you’re 4 for 36, you shouldn’t be laughing. When you ground into a rally killing double play, you shouldn’t be smiling. Not to draw an unfair comparison, but guys like Pettitte, Posada, Rivera and Jeter don’t laugh when that stuff is going on. That’s why they won five World Series and Swisher rode their coattails to just one in his career.
Also, when he says he’s never seen the fans turn on their own like this, I have to call bullshit. I’ve heard these fans boo Derek Jeter (it’s rare, but when he really slumps, they boo). They’ve been booing A-Rod off and on for going on eight years now. Granderson’s been getting booed this post season too. When you stink, the fans are going to get tired of you pretty quickly. If Swisher didn’t think New York fans would boo him, he’s delusional. Yankees fans are very emotionally tied to their team. When the team bleeds, we bleed. When Jeter’s ankle broke, I was practically limping around the room (at least on the inside, right?).
To be fair to Swish, he’s clearly not the only one failing up there. Robinson Canó just set a record for the longs “Ofer” in one post season with his 0-26. The Aforementioned A-Rod has been not only booed lustily, but benched or pinch hit for in almost every game these playoffs. That’s about as embarrassing as things get for a player like A-Rod, and even he hasn’t chastised Girardi or the fans publicly. He might be hurt, but he understands the fans, and he understands that’s simply not getting the job done right now. Swisher could actually take a lesson from A-Rod on how to take lumps like a man.
The one thing Swisher said that I liked was that the Yankees are “not going to go out like this. We’re going to go to Detroit and give them every thing we’ve got.” I sincerely hope he’s right, because if all they got is what they’ve been giving these playoffs, I’m going to throw up in my mouth.
Featured Image Courtesy of: Elsa/Getty Images
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