The New York Yankees are now down 2-0 to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series after a dismal offensive performance, and Nick Swisher’s comments about the fans following the loss were poorly timed and ill-advised.
Swisher, who is batting .154 in the postseason, took a significant amount of criticism for failing to come up with a catch on Delmon Young’s double during the 12th inning of Saturday’s loss. The hit scored Miguel Cabrera and ended up being the game-winning run.
After today’s 3-0 loss in which New York’s hitting woes continued, he made comments that will only serve to infuriate the team’s already frustrated fans.
Swisher was thoroughly displeased with what he was hearing from a group of fans in the right-field bleacher at Yankee Stadium, who have been notoriously dubbed the Bleacher Creatures.
The jeers that offended him the most were suggestions that his inability to make a play in the 12th inning was a factor in Derek Jeter breaking his ankle. Swisher said the following, via Bryan Hoch of Bombers Beat:
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 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.
Swisher has every right to be angry over barbs like this from his home crowd. Saying he had something to do with Jeter’s injury is unfair and obnoxious, but the Bleacher Creatures did not get their name because of their reputation for civilized discourse.
Swisher seemed to understand this, saying in the same interview, “If you get a hit, you might not hear much. But if you make an out, you’re definitely going to hear about it. That’s kind of the way it is here.”
The outfielder was constantly berated by his home crowd and was understandably frustrated with this. But he voiced an opinion that Hoch noted via Twitter was shared by several Yankees, and when asked in the same interview if it was a positive development that the series is now moving to Detroit, he started his answer with, “Maybe, man.”
Nick Swisher "disappointed" and "hurt" by what he's heard from the Bleacher Creatures. Several Yankees looking forward to change of scenery.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 15, 2012
As a professional athlete and a public figure, Swisher needed to have thicker skin and not respond to low blows from a few fans by suggesting that he is glad the series is moving away from New York.
Dealing with rowdy spectators is not always easy, and it has become significantly more difficult due to Swisher’s poor production at the plate and the team’s struggles in the first two games of the ALCS.
Had Swisher refrained from commenting about the nastiness of the fans over the past two games, a couple victories would put these first two games in the past. But now, if the Yankees are able to bring the series back to New York, Swisher will be significantly more likely to receive the same treatment from the fans if he continues to struggle.
While Swisher’s comments certainly had a ring of truth to them on many points, the effect of his remarks will not benefit him or his team going forward.