First Pitch: Will you cheer or boo Swisher?

June, 3, 2013
6/03/13
6:00
AM ET
The reception for Nick Swisher will be interesting Monday night in the Bronx.

The backstory is well-developed. Swisher spent four years with the Yankees, becoming popular with the fans because he presented himself as enthusiastic about being a Yankee. He was a bit goofy, but the fans seemed to love him.

He was a pretty good regular-season player and a terrible postseason performer. Last October, he complained about the fans expressing their disappointment in his and the Yankees' performance. Seemingly overnight, everything changed between him and the fans. He was booed and apparently deeply disliked.

“That’s the last thing that I ever thought would be in this ballpark, that people would get on you that bad,” Swisher said. “Especially your home, where your heart is, where you’ve been battling and grinding all year long. It’s just frustrating, man. You never want to be in that spot. It’s not like you’re trying to go out there and do bad on purpose. It’s just tough, man.

“It hurts. Sometimes I’m a sensitive guy and some of the things people say, they get under your skin a little bit. I’ve been lucky to be here for the past four years, bro.”


Swisher became so unpopular that when we did a poll in this blog in December, nearly 80 percent of the more than 7,000 voters thought the Yankees would be better off with Ichiro Suzuki over Swisher in right.

Now, Swisher returns Monday. He is having his typical regular season with an OPS in the mid-.800s, which is more than 200 points better than Ichiro.

So will you honor Swisher for the good he did, or will you remind him of how much you disliked how he played and what he said in the postseason?

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor on Brian Cashman's thoughts on Joe Girardi. My story about the weird weather night and the lasting image of Brett Gardner, Austin Romine, Mark Teixeira and first-base coach Mick Kelleher jumping after the loudest thunder you will ever hear. Kieran Darcy goes deeper into the Yanks' offensive woes.

ON DECK: Andy Pettitte (4-3, 3.83) returns to the mound for the first time since mid-May, when he went on the DL with a strained trapezius. He will face Justin Masterson (8-3, 3.07).

With Pettitte coming back, the Yankees will have to decide if David Adams, Lyle Overbay, Brennan Boesch or a pitcher is removed from the roster. They also might have to make a decision on Chris Stewart if he is not cleared after experiencing dehydration. Bobby Wilson likely would be called up, but he is not on the 40-man roster.

There also will be a news conference announcing the Big Ten will be part of the Pinstripe Bowl. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner will be there.

Wallace Matthews and Mike Mazzeo will have you covered.

IN THE HOLE: David Phelps (3-3, 4.65) vs. Scott Kazmir (3-2, 5.13) on Tuesday. On Wednesday, CC Sabathia (5-4, 3.71) vs. Corey Kluber (3-3, 4.36). Wednesday is a day game.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will you cheer or boo Swisher?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146