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Nick Swisher is not lacking in confidence and intensity, bro

Mar 6, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

Indians' Nick Swisher is congratulated by teammates after home run against Giants during their MLB Cactus League spring training baseball game in Scottsdale

I’m in Goodyear at Indians camp today. I love seeing the Indians people, especially their media relations folks. They’ve always been so nice and accommodating to me. It’s sad, though, that they’re probably going to all be out of a job soon. See, Nick Swisher is on the team now, and with him around there is not much need for public relations. Or season ticket sales people. Or much of anything else.

You see, most teams would like their players to be at a 9 or a 10 when it comes to enthusiasm. Swisher is at a perpetual 17.

I hit the clubhouse at 7:45 and Swisher was marching up and down, coffee in hand, slapping backs, slapping chests, offering up Ric Flair-style “wooo!”s and many, many “bros!” Really, I spoke with Swisher for about three minutes and I got no less than ten “bros.” He’s so excited to be back in Ohio, bro! He’s stoked to be “one of 750 major leaguers, bro!” I mentioned that, like him, I once lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia and he said “I used to live out by the Cracker Barrel on Route 2, bro!” He’s got a daughter on the way. I asked him if he’s still going to be this amped at eight in the morning once the baby arrives and he said he said “don’t bet against me, bro!”

Check him out here:

Thing is, he’s not just like that for video promotions. Jack that up a couple of levels and that’s where he is all the time. I just spoke to Terry Francona and he said about Swisher that “he doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.”

Walking out of the clubhouse, I ran into some of the team media people. I told them that whatever they’re paying Swisher, it’s not enough. They all agreed. He’s probably paid off his contract in increased season ticket sales already.

Right now Swisher’s energy is exactly what the Indians and their fans need. It’s a totally different thing than this team has seen in years. But I do wonder: what happens once the season begins? What happens if the Tribe loses six of their first eight and Swisher struggles?  Will the intensity lag? Will it stay where it is and rub teammates the wrong way? It’s long season and no one can keep up Swisher’s energy for seven months, can they?

  1. fanofevilempire - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    I liked when Swish was on the Yanks and I think all his team mates loved him too.
    I wish him the best.

    • fredverd - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      Long time Yankee fan… this may not be statistically perfect, but it seems to me that Swisher carried the Yanks when nobody else was hitting. He was the man. When others finally got hot, Swish only did OK, not great. Whether or not he was hitting, he was always trying hard to spark the team…his attitude and availability to reporters could not have been improved. His defense…well, nobody tried harder. When he first presented himself to the Yankee fans his attitude seemed almost unreal — but that was the way he always was. Props to Nick!

      • polonelmeagrejr - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:30 AM

        I know this is not a thought popular with people that make their living from writing about SPorts but Swisher’s availability to the press is meaningless in terms of wins and losses. GImme DIck Allen and Joey Belle over Swisher and see who does better.

  2. zzalapski - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Sad that he didn’t fit into the Yankees’ plans this winter, as they could’ve used his production, but I’m glad to see him get paid and enjoying his new environs. I wish him well.

  3. cruuuzcontrol - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    This dude is the king of all tools

    • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Thank you!

      • Kevin S. - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        I’ve been asking you ever since you put him on the ‘nozzle list why you hate him so much. I’ve never gotten an answer from you or anybody else.

      • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        Thanks for reminding me. That shithead is going on this year’s list. I won’t watch the video above but I’m sure it’s worthy of nozzledom.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        So you’re not going to explain your pathological hatred for him?

      • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        I’m pulling together some stuff just for you, with help from a friend and colleague (seirously). In the meantime there is this (which they showed the recording session of on an episode of TWIB but I can’t find it)

      • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        PS I know this album was for kids/charity. This means nothing. Hugo Chavez was a champion of the poor in Venezuela. That didn’t make him any less of a douche.

      • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        OK, to summarize:

        1. I hated him beginning with his White Sox days, whom I do root for as well. A well put summary from my friend and die-hard Sox fan:

        “when the Sox acquired Swisher from the A’s, they were so desperate for a high-OBP guy who could play CF that they gave up a package that seemed like possibly too much at the time (and, given the emergence of Gio Gonzalez over the last few years, was definitely too much in retrospect) and he proceeded to come to the South Side and stink up the place. His personality was known in advance and initially seemed to make him a fun guy, but when he continued his antics despite playing like crap it was annoying and the clubhouse (at the time run by a group of taciturn veterans led by Konerko) turned on him. Some of the clubhouse antics reflected poorly on the organization, primarily the bobblehead incident and the blow-up doll incident, and by September Ozzie was benching him and talking shit in the press. He was then traded to the Yankees for a bucket of warm spit and a game-used cup; Swisher became for the Yankees what the Sox had hoped he would be for them while the warm spit “played” a brutal 3B for the Sox for most of a season and the cup made the AAA rotation worse until he was cut (doesn’t help that the warm spit moved on to the Royals and was halfway decent). Now the jackass has signed with a division rival and I get to see him 18 times a year. Hooray.”

        2. That stupid f’ing album he recorded and I was lucky enough to see recorded on TWIB once way back when. The cheese factor is through the roof, for charity or not, I can’t stand it.

        3. Fantasy baseball. Two years ago and before, I used him routinely in spot starts and he stunk up my squad every time. Ever since, others use him on occasion, and at times against me, and every time, he f@cks my team up. He literally cost me a matchup last year by ruining a Verlander (or maybe Shields) QS.

        4. He is not as well like as it is recently protrayed as the Sox can attest to. He was never well like in Chicago. That sentiment still remains, esp since he’s on Cleveland now.

        5. I hate almost anyone on the Yanks b/c I hate the Yanks historically. My hatred has leveled off a bit since the beat the Braves in the WS decades ago, but still, hate em.

        6. Faux hawk and acid wash jeans.

        7. Wife is too hot for him. This may be a reason to hate a lot of rich folks, but for Swish it just adds to his persona of douche.

        8. He is a douchenozzle and his photo is next to said word in the dictionary. Look it up. I’m just reporting the news, so to speak.

        I told you it wasn’t reasonable, but there you go. He’s my nemesis, whether he knows it or not.

      • jwbiii - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        The 30 second clip of “Heroes” on Amazon is more than enough.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Spanish Inquisition rules: Everyone gets an “enemigo mortal.”

      • Kevin S. - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        I was in Chicago the year he played for the White Sox, and from what I saw, Ozzie was spectacularly misusing him. While he had the ability to fill center in a pinch when he was younger, it was always a stretch to play him there full-time. When Ozzie put him in the leadoff spot, Ozzie expected him to do leadoff hittery things, like bunt and steal bases and hit .300 and whatnot, then buried him in the doghouse when Swisher didn’t do that because that isn’t his game at all. Also, his peripherals were right in line with his career numbers, but his BABIP nosedived despite a career-high (at the time) line-drive percentage. This was held against him because the White Sox weren’t paying attention to anything deeper than batting average, so they didn’t realize it wasn’t really his fault. It wasn’t really any surprise that Swisher got sulky, given the way Ozzie and randomness conspired to dick him over. The rest of the stuff, I mean whatever, you admit it’s not rational, but Sox fans shouldn’t blame Swisher for 2008 when Kenny bought high and sold low, randomness happens and Ozzie is a moron.

      • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        I agree with most of what you said. Ozzie did use him in weird ways and is known for such things (platoon DH anyone?). I don’t think the misuse was “spectacular” and I do think you may be glossing over his underperformance, but still, we can agree to disagree I think. That said, the onus should be on your camp, not mine. Instead, you all should tell me why I should like him? Most likely, your reasons are the same ones that I use to explain why I hate him. And no one, no one, no ONE, can defend that album.

      • vallewho - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        CF.

        Who’s fault was that?????

      • Kevin S. - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        Well, obviously he played well for my team. I appreciate his enthusiasm for the game. He was a poster boy for the more innovative ways at valuing production, even beyond being part of the “Moneyball draft.” I dunno, it was just fun watching him play for four years.

      • lostsok - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:25 PM

        Every time Swish gets a big hit against the White Sox…I’m gonna chuckle a little remembering El Bravo’s pathetic and annoying list.

        Swisher may be…unique…but he seems like a genuinely earnest guy. I hit he hits .450 against the Sox.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      “This dude is the king of all tools.”

      If you are referring to Nick Swisher…I am one of the 29 that agreed with you.
      But of course…I don’t use the word “bro.” EVER.
      I tend to use “brah.”

  4. vallewho - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I’m sure some people will criticize him, but everyone should know by now that that is what you get with him. He also gets pretty upset at himself when he struggles, so it’s not like he’s high-fiving the ‘bros after striking out or tough loses.

  5. bfriley76 - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Will the intensity lag?
    It hasn’t seemed to in other places.

    Will it stay where it is and rub teammates the wrong way?
    This is the key. Apply it to the fans as well. It seemed to rub some Yankee fans the wrong way, especially since he was a postseason “choker.” I call those fans idiots.

    It’s long season and no one can keep up Swisher’s energy for seven months, can they?
    Again, he’s done it in other places.

    Swisher just seems to me like the type of guy who loves his life, and why shouldn’t he? I know, if I was a well-paid professional ball player with a world series ring, I’d be pretty stoked the majority of the time. Maybe I wouldn’t yell it off the rooftops as much as he does, but to each his own.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      You forgot the part where he has a preposterously hot wife.

      • Gamera the Brave - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        I just looked up the preposterously hot wife.
        Kevin, you were not exaggerating even a bit!
        I would be equally amped, 24/7/365 (except for me being almost twice his age…).

  6. nsauser - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Would Swish be considered gritty or just hyped?

  7. thebadguyswon - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    There’s two camps when it comes to Swish. Either you dig his act and think he’s great for his team or you find him to be an insufferable douche.

  8. cur68 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Man’s grateful for his life, enjoying his time as a pro sports player, and spreading some joy wherever he goes. And why the hell not? If he dropped dead tomorrow no one will ever say that Nick Swisher didn’t appreciate and live his life fully.

    Every one of us should know someone like that. They pick you up and keep you focussed on what’s going right and how to deal with and get past what’s going wrong.

    Would you want to know a dozen guys like that? No. Probably not. But would you want to see that guy every day and play sports with him? Yeah. Probably. He’s full of life. He makes you laugh. You know the sun is always shining on Planet Swisher.

    He’s MLB’s Mr. Sunshine.

    I hope Swisher, Francona, and The Indians have a great season…Bro.

    • vallewho - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      He plays baseball for a living and makes a boat-load of money!

    • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Your theme of positivity, acceptance and tolerance when it comes to Swish makes me nauseous ;)

      • indaburg - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Seriously, Bravo, what did Swish do? I get most of your nozzle list but I scratch my head when it comes to him. It’s like hating a rambunctious puppy.

      • Gamera the Brave - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        Precisely, ‘burg – in small doses, rambunctious puppies are fun – but after about 15 minutes you want to put it in another room…
        Then there’s the potty training…

      • badintent - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:35 AM

        You hate him cause he Fu*k your Fantasy team ? Dude , get a real life. one with a woman with tits and a great dog and maybe a Ferrari and take your Prozac everyday( don’t mix it with the tequlia and Ecstasy.) And flush the SARs papers down the throne and stop playing video games nonstop too. Go to church or temple or whatever.Leave HBT to the big boys and the big dogs. Wuff !

      • El Bravo - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        Thats dude. I’m sure I’ll heed that wonderful advice.

      • El Bravo - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        *thanks

    • cur68 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      El Bravo should learn to live to live his life according to the creed “What Would Swisher Do?” (WWSD). Just try it for a day, Bro. You’ll be happier and stuff. REALLY bro!

      Now I’m going to watch the Dominican Republic and its Big Beaver Attack take on the Evil Empire and its All Sith Assault. Puck drops in 5 minutes…

      • El Bravo - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        I’m not into bros though, brah.

      • cur68 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        None of my bidness what you into, Bro, just be like Swisher: Happy.

        My bidness is seeing The Dominican Beaver players puttin’ the wood to the Sith Lords. Reyes & E5 both having another good game. Its a double dose of Domincan Burn today with Peña coaching them and Robbie Cano swinging away, too. Could it be any more awesome for AL Beast rivals?

      • indaburg - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        I’ve been watching the game too. MY boys look good. Pitching is better than I would have thought.

        I am so bummed DR vs. Venezuela is on Thursday night.

      • cur68 - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        I’ve been looking for you in the crowd. No hitter 6-0 for the DR so far. The Sith are taking a beating. Its a good day.

      • indaburg - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        I didn’t feel like crossing the bridge today. It’s another gorgeous day though and watching the game around my people is a lot of fun. Lively, loud group. The Swishers of baseball fans. I definitely regret my decision.

      • cur68 - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Yeah, it looks like a pretty fun crowd: the Yankee ones are sulking and the DR ones are having a blast. Perfect. I must move there.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        Yeah, that’s probably more fun for you than the BJ-Tigers game.

      • cur68 - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        Yep. The MLB Tigers beat the AAA Beavz. Who’d a thunk that would have happened with Reyes & E5 away whaling the tar out of the Sith Lords?

        /makes Force Choke hand gesture…

      • historiophiliac - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        Oh, please, like part of our team isn’t gone to the WBC too. You didn’t face our whole first 9. That’s spring training anyway.

      • cur68 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:22 AM

        I will look forward mightily to Our Boys meeting in the regular season. ‘philliac. When it goes down, there will be no quarter. May the best Beaver win.

  9. Kevin Gillman - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Hey Craig, remember when you said Swish was not coming to Cleveland, and that this is the most ridiculous bit of news you heard when reporting the Indians are talking to Nick? yeah, how did that work out for you? Having said that, I think you’ll be wrong about a possibility that Nick might rub the players the wrong way when he slumps. He never did that in any other team he played for.

  10. APBA Guy - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    I’m with Cur on this one. When he was with the A’s he was dialed back a touch, and he hadn’t become a pro in the sense that he partied to the neglect of his workouts, a pretty common shortcoming in very young players. But all that changed, and incrementally over time what has been produced is an upbeat, professional player whose production is consistent (.820-.870 OPS the last 4 years) if below star level. He’s 32 and knows he’s looking at a shorter road ahead of him, baseball-wise, than the road behind him. He chooses to be upbeat and enjoy it. good for him.

  11. sophiethegreatdane - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Love the attitude and intensity. The honesty is refreshing too. I get so tired of hearing ball players complain, or when writers talk about what a “slog” the six month baseball season is. You know what’s a slog? Trying to make a living 365 days a year in this economic environment, supporting your family, and generally trying to live a good life. And let’s forget the travel angle — I spend more days on the road per year than the avg ball player does.

    But you know what? I love my job, and try to be as enthusiastic about it as possible. I could learn from Nick, I bet. Today I’ll try to be even more like Nick Swisher. More enthusiasm, less “bros”, bro.

    Good on ya Nick!

  12. djpostl - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Dude’s a goofball and I love him for it, just not enough of them in baseball anymore, but I wish that confidence yielded results when it mattered most. If it did he’d still be wearing pinstripes.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Ditto.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      I actually kind of doubt he’d still be a Yankee even if he hit .300/.400/.600 in the playoffs. Given the sunk costs on their roster and their desire to get under the tax next season, I really don’t think they were going to commit $14 million/year to a good player who, given his skill set, carries some risk of falling off the cliff in this contract. His salary was one of the few the Yanks could let off the books in time.

      • dcpowergator - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        seriously, bitter yankee fans who are clearly having a hard time coming to terms that they can’t (or simply won’t) buy their way to contention every year. can’t wait to see them react to five more years of a sub .750 OPS ARoid for a cool $25M a year! couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

      • djpostl - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        I actually think the opposite. If he hit big in the playoffs and the price range stayed where it was he’d have fit their plans better than Granderson (or depending on how much of the Boras Kool-Aid he’s been drinking, Cano).

      • Kevin S. - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        I don’t think Granderson’s in the long-term plans, either. The Yankees were only going to keep one of the three, and it makes sense for them to go with the youngest, best player. Brian Cashman brought Javy Vazquez back for a second turn. He wasn’t going to hold Swisher’s postseason struggles against him.

  13. psuravens19 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    I really wish the O’s would have made a run at Swisher and signed him… He is the type of player they need. He puts up good numbers and seems to be a great clubhouse guy. I can certainly see why he can rub people the wrong way, but it’s just who he is.

  14. vincentbojackson - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Congrats Indians, you have the most expensive PR guy in the league. Unfortunately, he was signed to play baseball and you over-paid for his services in that roll too.

  15. dlf9 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Anyone here old enough to remember Steve Swisher, Nick’s dad. Steve was a catcher for the Cubs and a couple of other teams in the 70s and early 80s. He made the allstar team when I was 8 and, because of my impressionable youth, I figured he must be a great player. But looking back, that was the only season he was even close to a regular and even that year he couldn’t hit.

    Anyway, my recollection from many years back is that Steve was more of a redass than a rah-rah guy the way Nick is. Anyone else recall?

  16. mdev1987 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Too bad he lacks intensity and confidence in October when it mattered. Good riddance. He’ll be fine in Cleveland since they won’t sniff the playoffs. Enjoy his underproduction tribe fans!!!

    • Kevin Gillman - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      Just wondering, but didn’t the Yankee players, even Derek Jeter himself credit Nick in many ways for giving them the World Series win in 2009? So you’re welcome.

  17. janessa31888 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Just heard a great interview with Nick. Love his energy and enthusiasm. Hopefully it will rub off on his teammates. The last few years, the Dolans haven’t spent money and the fans(including me) howled about their cheapness and dumpster diving. I’m not going to moan about the price. Overpaid or not, the Indians sorely needed an energetic personality in the clubhouse. Wishing him and the tribe good luck this season.

  18. Kevin Gillman - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Here’s the truth, last year the Indians went through their toughest stretch in the entire franchise. July 26th, they were 3 1/3 games behind Detroit, after beating Justin Verlander. After that night, the Indians not only lost 10 in a row for the first time in many years, but Manny Acta had no answer for it at all. They then went 5-27, and are lucky they didn’t finish in last place.

    Well, Terry Francona and Nick Swisher bring accolades themselves that nobody else can. Terry took a Red Sox franchise that hadn’t won a World Series in 85 years, and he won 2 of them. And Nick was a big reason why the Yankees won the 2009 World Series, but everywhere he has played, he found some level of success, and is consistent. You know he is going to give you 25 HRs, and around 80 RBIs. Some people may say the Indians don’t have talent, but they are wrong. Nick won’t be the only guy to produce, now they will have players like Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, and Carlos Santana surround him, not to mention a bonafide lead off hitter like Michael Bourn. They also have one of the best bullpen in Chris Perez, an underrated Vinnie Pestano, and Joe Smith setting him up. They also have a full season out of Nick Hagadone and Cody Allen, not to mention Mike Albers, and Matt Capps who can light it up when they need to as well. They have players on the farm that are on the cusp of being a part of that bullpen too.

    Now even with the starting rotation being the weakness, they won’t be as bad as they were last year, I can promise that. Even if it’s because of the outfield defense that will run down any ball that is hit near them.

    So anyone that says they won’t sniff the playoffs, let me remind you on that July 26th, they were in second place in the AL Wildcard hunt too, keeping pace with the Rays, Orioles, and right before the Athletics made their move. I guarantee you they won’t go 5-27 again. Francona will know what to do in slumps, and Swisher won’t allow the players to feel sorry for themselves.

    • classicfootballplease - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      You had me up until the Matt Capps debacle, I’m going to assume its a typo, bravo.

      • Kevin Gillman - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Okay, the Matt Capps thing might have reached a bit, but everything else I meant…LOL

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