Nick Swisher on Yankee Stadium booing: “It hurts … sometimes I’m a sensitive guy”

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Nick Swisher broke from his usual “Roll Call” salute to fans in the Yankee Stadium bleachers yesterday because Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that he was “stung by jeers he heard from the home crowd” during Game 1 of the ALCS.

Here’s more from Swisher:

That’s the last thing that I ever thought would be in this ballpark, that people would get on you that bad. 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.

Swisher has played four years in New York and, based on those comments, apparently hasn’t noticed the Yankee Stadium crowd booing Alex Rodriguez on a semi-regular basis essentially that entire time.

Swisher added that he doesn’t like the personal attacks he’s heard within the boos:

Last night was pretty big. A lot of people saying a lot of things that I’ve never heard before. Prime example: I missed that [12th-inning Delmon Young] ball in the lights, and the next thing you know, I’m the reason that Jeter got hurt. It’s kind of frustrating. They were saying it was my fault. …

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. We’re not going to go out like this. We’re going to go to Detroit and give everything we’ve got.

Blaming him for the Derek Jeter injury is silly, of course, but “I missed that ball in the lights” isn’t a magic wand that can be raised to remove all criticism, particularly considering Swisher is now hitting .167 in 45 career playoff games. He’s been terrible and the Yankee Stadium crowd, like many baseball crowds, often boos players who perform terribly. There’s not a whole lot else to it, although Swisher’s impending free agency does add an extra wrinkle.

I do, however, appreciate Swisher so perfectly fitting his reputation by including “bro” in his quote.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.