Monday, December 24, 2012

On Christmas Eve, Jolly Old Saint Nick has gone to Cleveland

Nick Swisher became an Indian yesterday, bringing an end to Brian Cashman's greatest trade, and one of the few that worked according to plan. He also gave the Yankees a larger-than-life personality, performing as an actual human being on a team of p.r.-obsessed cardboard cutouts. (Now, only Joba represents the Everyman who just happens to wear pinstripes. The rest - from Arod to Grandy - come off about as real as corporations in the Mitt Romney definition of the word.)

We're going to miss this guy, and I'm not referring to his on-base percentage (which is a mile-higher than Ichiro's.)

Swish was the first person in MLB to reveal that Ozzie Guillen is an idiot, a fact now universally understood. (Ozzie being the rare manager who occasionally tries to ruin his own players.) As a result, we received a switch hitter with power for Wilson Betemit (a switch hitter without power.) Swish blossomed in NYC - and not many do (Boomer Wells, Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neill, anybody else?) When Swish was hot, he mashed every pitcher in his way. You wondered how great he could be, if he could just avoid those slumps.

But he couldn't. Slumps were as much a part of his game as fingers pointed to the sky. Swish couldn't beat them, no matter how he tried. He hoped marriage would level him out. It didn't. He hired a personal trainer and came to camp in great shape. It didn't matter. Last winter, he hired a hypnotist. It didn't work. The trenches always claimed him - kept him down. If he could avoid the slumps, Swish could have risen into the pantheon of great Yankee sluggers, maybe stay a Yankee until retirement. What a great hope. But it didn't work.

And the record will show horrible slumps in October. I must be hard to play unconscious when the world is watching. Swish's last playoff debacle came in right field, blowing a line drive that he catches 999 times out a thousand. He lost it in the lights - a line that pretty much defines Swish's career.

He'll get a loud ovation when Cleveland comes to town. He should. He'll hit a homerun against us, maybe win a game. They all do. And in my final moments, I hope to remember him standing at second base, after the Yankees just roared back from that huge deficit in Fenway. Damn... I'll miss the guy. We all will. Good grief: A real live person - one of us! - actually played right field for the Yankees. And he did a good job, folks. He made us proud.

Swishalicious! That's what it was.


Anonymous said...

Swish was a joke and a mediocre player. I thank god I don't have to see that goofy smile after he strikes out.e was all wrong for the purest of baseball minds.. Good Riddance

Anonymous said...

"Swish blossomed in NYC - and not many do (Boomer Wells, Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neill, anybody else?)"


Parson Tom said...

very good at baseball and a good guy. nice combination and quite rare for the Yanks.