Nick Swisher's intangible value
I live in the New York area, but my 12-year-old had never been to a game at Yankee Stadium until Monday night. She loved the massive scoreboard and hated the foul balls that zoomed past us repeatedly on the left field side.
And while she decided as a child to give her allegiance to the Boston Red Sox -- her Kevin Youkilis shirt is now outdated, I told her Monday morning -- she got a kick out of the exuberance of Nick Swisher. "I think he's my favorite player," she said as he ran off the field after the top of the eighth inning.
Her response was directly related to his effort -- nothing more, nothing less.
By the eighth inning, the New York Yankees had control of the game against the Cleveland Indians, carrying a 7-0 lead. Hiroki Kuroda came out to start the inning with his pitch count at 100, with an outside chance at a shutout. Lonnie Chisenhall laced a ball into right-center field, a hit, and as he came out of the box, the Cleveland DH was thinking about taking second base.
But Swisher rushed into the alley, hustling to cut the ball off, and he fired back toward the infield, holding Chisenhall to a single.
In a perfect world, this is what Swisher and others should always do. But the reality is that this doesn't always happen, especially when the outcome is decided, as it was by the eighth inning last night. Sometimes players don't hustle, don't care enough.
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