Here is proof that you can take the boy out of Ohio, but you can’t take Ohio out of the boy. (He and I are twins!)
We still don’t know what changed within the Indians organization, and how everything came to be over the past few months. But whatever it is, they need to stuff it in bottles to keep for later. Nick Swisher’s attitude is drawing the media’s eyes to our guys, and who knows what effect that will have in terms of free-agents in the future. He just exudes the joy that baseball should always be; the exuberance that always seemed storybook. The kind that even shows even during the hot dog days of the mid-season where a lot of guys are just wishing they could be anywhere but baking in the sun. The guy lives it as if it is a never-ending birthday party. The sad part about all of this? Just that I used to hate him for it.
I always thought his whole deal was contrived. Surely, it is an act of buffoonery that surely drove his skippers crazy! Besides, he had never played for the Indians, so it gave me the license to continue being happily annoyed by his smugness. Playing for both the White Sox and Yankees didn’t help his cause with me, of course. And while growing up as a life-long Notre Dame diehard, I didn’t even feel the emotional pull of him going to college and succeeding at Ohio State. I would have rather I relived the inglorious Andy Marte experience all over again. So, you can probably guess, deep down, I was the antithesis of enthusiasm that Nick always is when word leaked that the Tribe brass was looking to bring him in. I was happy that the Indians seemed intent of breaking the small-market rut they’ve been in, but, on this guy? This goofball whom I wanted to slap with everything I had every time his ornery grin splashed across my screen?
As it happens often, I was dead wrong. It’s one of the rare times that I will happily wear my wrongness proudly. He lives it. He breathes it. And he’s a pretty darned good hitter who always seemed to terrorize Indians pitching. (Which always makes for another easy excuse to loathe a guy. “DON’T YOU DARE DO WELL AGAINST MY GUYS. EVER.” #Hashtaggrowlyface.)
So I’ve officially and completely crossed over into the Swisher “excitement.” It feels good to finally see this guy where he was meant to be all along, and that my bias is a thing of the past.
That is, until the first day he goes 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Some things I just can’t let slide.