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.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

The Rays gave Seth Smith a little league homer last night

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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:

Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.

Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.

Watch:

 

I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.

Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.