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Thursday, April 18, 2013
Ohio player

By Thomas Golianopoulos
ESPN The Magazine

Nick Swisher
Swisher told reporters "it hurt" when the Yankees let him go. Sure, maybe for about a minute.

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Were you surprised when your contract talks with the Yankees didn't pan out?
No, I knew early in the offseason I wasn't coming back. But as sad as that was, it made the free agency process a little easier because I knew the place I had called home for four years wasn't an option. So then it was great to get the love from Cleveland that I did, and now I'm locked in with these guys. It's the next chapter, man.

Definitely. New city, new team, new position. How's it all treating you so far?
It's great, man. It's like I'm coming back to the beginning: There are a lot of new guys on the squad, so we're all trying to get to know each other and find our identity as a team. We're doing our work and we're having a blast. It's a great vibe; I'm excited to see what this team is capable of.

In New York, it was World Series or bust. Different in Cleveland?
I'm an Ohio boy, so when I think of the Indians, I think of the '90s and the domination of the Tribe. Cleveland really was rocking at that time. That shows you what this city will bring for a contender. Yeah, it's been a bit since Cleveland had that buzz, but this group has great bats and some serious speed. Us guys, we're all excited to be part of the team to bring that back.

That sounds better than the Bronx, where the fans seemed to turn on the team a bit last year.
You can't fire up old storms, bro. I'm not commenting on that.

How about Terry Francona, another new face in Cleveland?
I'm super happy he's the guy leading our ship. You don't pick up a guy like him if you don't expect to win soon. He caught a bum rap in Boston. That stuff had to fall on somebody, and so it fell on him.

You're playing first rather than outfield, and you're batting cleanup. More pressure on you?
Man, it's all the same game, the one I've loved and the only thing I wanted to do since I was 6. I'm fortunate to be one of 750 guys who live the dream. So yeah, I want to go out and give it everything, but I'm just going to continue to be me. I don't know how to do anything else.

Any goals for the season?
I'm not an awards guy or a stat guy. It's about having a blast and enjoying every second. The window of opportunity in this game is so small, so I go out and give all I've got with a smile on my face, and when I put my head on my pillow at night, man, I sleep very well.

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