We’ve already established that Nick Swisher is coming to town this week. Whether or not he’ll bring the good children of Cleveland some toys, a signed contract, and an improved OPS over many of last season’s outfield options, remains to be seen. Since he’s going to physically be in Cleveland, I think that with a little bit of effort, Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti could give a dynamite presentation and convince him to head to the shores of Lake Erie next season. Since it sounds like Shapiro is the one that will be showing Swisher around town, I’ve decided to direct my advice toward him.
– Shapiro plans to take Nick Swisher out to dinner to have a chat. Word of advice – avoid McDonalds and other fast food venues. You want him to think you’re a classy guy, with a classy team; therefore, you should select a nice restaurant. Let him order anything off the menu he wants (even if it’s expensive) and maybe buy a bottle of wine that costs more than $14. Wine him, dine him, and let him know how special you think he could be to your lineup next season.
– Have you ever seen those really sad commercials with Sarah McLachlan singing about the dogs with sad faces? Don’t you feel really bad for those sad dogs every time you see those commercials? Don’t you want to send money to them, so they’ll be happy again? Mark Shapiro should try something like this, only instead of dogs he can use Indians fans with sad faces. This would be the voice over: “Nick Swisher, do you realize that with just four at-bats per game, you could make an Indians fan like this one right here smile again? (show picture #1 of sad fan) This woman is 60 years old and has never seen a World Series championship in Cleveland; she needs something to give her hope. (show picture #2 of sad fan) This child was forced to watch Aaron Cunningham in 109 plate appearances last season, doesn’t he deserve better? (show picture #3 of sad fan)” The guilt Swisher will feel at the end of this video will make it hard for him to say no.
– Promise a case of Great Lakes Christmas Ale every time he hits a home run. Give him a case during the tour to get him hooked.
– Nick Swisher’s feelings were hurt during the playoffs this fall when he was booed by fans at Yankee Stadium. Shapiro can promise that this won’t happen in Cleveland, because the Indians won’t be in the playoffs.
– Remember Pronkville? Remember how the “Pronkville” banners were quietly removed one day in favor of corporate sponsorship because Hafner’s once loud bat was quieted? There are still a few portions of Progressive Field that haven’t been claimed by sponsors (not the bleachers, foul poles, mezzanine, home run porch and outfield bar, to name a few). You offer to name one of the remaining sponsor-free areas after Swisher. It was kind of hard trying to think of an area not claimed by sponsors, but they’re probably safe going with the lower reserved seats in right-center. That section could be dubbed “Swisher wishers” (look, you try to find something good that rhymes with Swisher) and everyone could wear matching t-shirts. FLATTERY WINS. EDIT: Thanks to Steve Brightman for suggesting “We are all Swishness” on Facebook earlier tonight. Definitely a better word choice!
– The Indians don’t typically sign any higher-profile free agents. Anywhere else he’s just another player, but in Cleveland he’d be a magical, rare treasure.
– Offer to start him off with 10,000 points in the new Tribe Rewards program. That way he can go ahead and bid on something like a Shin-Soo Choo signed bat, and then he can literally have the bat of the man he’s replacing.
– Season pass to Cedar Point. Who doesn’t love Cedar Point? We’ll ignore the fact that he’ll be playing baseball most days during the summer and won’t really be able to go to the park.
– Remember the old LeBron James “witness” poster downtown? Offer to hang a giant banner of Swisher on one of the downtown buildings, because what could ever go wrong with that idea?
– If all else happens to fail, just hold Swisher hostage in the bowels of Progressive Field until spring training. Other teams will have filled in their holes by that point, and Swisher will have to take the Indians’ offer. If nothing else, he’d probably have a pretty good case of Stockholm Syndrome by that point. He’d be much more amenable to signing.