Just who is Nick Swisher anyway? In this picture he looks like a country singer minus the cowboy hat. The longer I stare at him the more I expect to hear Kenny Chesney wailing about his two-minute marriage to Renee Zellwegger.
If I seem a little mournful myself, it’s because I am. Did the Yankees really need yet another first baseman (hyphen) outfielder in the manner of Morgan Ensberg and Shelley Duncan? Haven’t we had enough players with hyphens? And that doesn’t even include Posada, our first baseman (hyphen) catcher, or Giambi, our previous first baseman (hyphen) designated hitter. Which is why I still want him.
Meanwhile, Nick did a long-distance conference call with the beat writers today, and my first impression after listening to the audio posted on Peter Abraham’s blog was: He uses the word “man” a lot. As in: “It’s an honor to put on the pinstripes, man.” And: “Every little kid in America dreams of playing for the New York Yankees, man.”
Memo to you, man: We’ve heard this kind of thing before.
My favorite part of the conference call wasn’t when he said, “Mr. Cashman seems like a wonderful gentleman,” even though it was hilarious the way it made Cash seem 100 years old. And it wasn’t when he said, “It meant the world to me that A-Rod called to welcome me to the team,” despite the fact that I choked up. It was when, after one of the writers mentioned how he had bounced between four different positions last year, Pete Abraham asked, “Is first base your best position, Nick?” And Nick said – I kid you not – “Defensively, yes, although I really haven’t had an opportunity to play there much.”
Excuse me? We signed you to play first base and you haven’t played there much?
As I indicated, I still want him.
Oh, well. Since Nick is now a Yank, I suppose I should take a closer look.
The son of former catcher Steve Swisher, he was raised in the boring-sounding town of Parkersburg, West Virginia by his grandmother, Betty.
He wasn’t the most famous native of Parkersburg.
Patsy Ramsey was.
He went to Ohio State, excelled in baseball and got signed by the A’s where he fit right in with his long hair and Giambi-ish personality.
He even copied Giambi’s batting stance.
Known for his easygoing style and dedication to charities, he did engage in the occasional brawl.
Actually, he kind of ducked that punch from Rangers’ pitcher Vicente Padilla, and the incident got him so unhinged he had to be restrained.
His next gig, with the White Sox, didn’t go so well.
He only batted .219 last year. (No, that’s not a typo.)
He did an interview with Chicago Magazine in which he admitted to being a bit of a party boy. He said, “Having fun and laughing works best for me.” If he’d only known that having fun and laughing is just not the Yankees Way.
He went on to say, “My style is a little bit rocker.” Did he mean this kind of rocker?
Or this kind?
He has a pretty girlfriend – a model he met when he played in the Cape Cod League.
And, according to Joe Girardi, he’ll be “a positive presence inside the clubhouse.”
Maybe he will be, and I’m just being an alarmist. He’s probably a great guy who will make zero errors at first, hit 40 homers and knock in 150 RBIs. I’ll support him 100% because I’m a Yankee fan and it’s my job to support my players. “Let’s go Swish-er!” Clap clap clap clap clap clap.
And yet… I still want him.