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What the heck does "swagger" have to do with anything?

Aug 6, 2009, 11:13 AM EDT

Mike Lupica is one of about 3,246 people previewing the Yankees-Sox series that begins tonight. He says something in his preview that a lot of Yankees-types are saying:

The Yankees do not need to sweep the Red Sox this weekend. And even if they take three of four, they don’t knock the Red Sox out of the race, they don’t prove they are the best team in the league, they don’t settle the score for starting out 0-8 against Boston this season. The Yankees just need to do this: Bring an old swagger to a new ballpark over the next four days . . . A good time to make it seem like old times around here. New park, old swagger.

Can someone please explain to me what this means apart from, you know, winning games? The term “swagger” really started getting thrown around in sports with those Miami Hurricanes teams of the 1980s. Back then I took it to mean arrogance or showboating or something, as a swaggering walk (say, after sacking the QB or scoring a touchdown) kind of implied. The term is used so often now that I think it has lost all meaning. Does Lupica mean that the Yankee pitchers should knock down some Sox hitters (if so, read this for a second opinion)? Does he mean that Teixeira should circle the bases with one flap down, Jeffrey Leonard style? I wish he’d explain.

Baseball is not football. There is no physical domination or really a lot of room for style like you might see in the NFL. If you execute, you win. If you don’t, you lose. I can’t imagine how “swagger” enters into it, apart from providing an empty concept about which sports writers can bleat until the actual games start.

Maybe I’m just missing the point. If so, someone please tell me exactly what “swagger” looks like in a baseball context.

  1. Rod - Aug 6, 2009 at 12:58 PM

    Swagger is the same in every sport independent of the extent of the physical aspect. Based on the context of this post, your question is coming from a frame of reference that would make it hard for you to accept any answer. I know you’re a writer but to understand swagger you have to distance yourself from the logical mind-set and accept the possibility that there are phenomena that are easier to experience than explain. Swagger is when you are playing on such a high level that you can do no wrong. Everything goes right intentionally, and in baseball especially it also means the whole team is in that same state of mind. Ask any athlete and they will tell you something similar.

  2. Benny Blanci - Aug 6, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    Its called confidence Craig.

  3. mcgatman - Aug 7, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    I get the feeling that when a member of the NY media starts talking about Yankee “swagger”, that’s code for how much better the Yankees were with Scott Brosius instead of A-Rod

  4. mls - Aug 7, 2009 at 7:49 PM

    I am convinced you are too stupid to be allowed to continue to write about anything above the taste of corn flakes compared to frosted flakes.
    Swagger (in the the sports idiom) is another word for confidence. It is a way of saying that the team believes in its abilities.
    How in the name of the baseball gods did you get to write about sports?

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