Forgetting the Ghosts of US Cellular Field: Nick Swisher is the New Aaron Rowand
Any Chicago White Sox fan born within the last four years remembers the miraculous run that the South Siders had as they marched on towards their first World Series title in 88 years.
Sox were led by, what current White Sox TV announcer, Ken "the Hawk" Harrelson, dubbed, the "Three Amigos." The Amigos consisted of present third basemen and late-inning hero, Joe Crede, current catcher and the third most hated athlete in sports, A.J. Pierzynski, and, since departed, hard-nosed, center fielder Aaron Rowand.
Within months of bring a World Series trophy to Chicago for the first time in almost nine decades, General Manager, Kenny Williams, traded home town hero, Aaron Rowand for left handed slugger, Jim Thome.
Along with Rowand, Kenny traded the heart and soul of the Chicago White Sox.
Since that final out of the 2005, the Chicago White have experimented with four center fielders.
In 2006, the Sox trotted out Brian Anderson. However, when Anderson showed that he could not hold his own at the plate, manager Ozzie Guillen turned to super-sub Rob Mackowiak to pick up the slack.
In 2007, the Sox brought in Angels' veteran, Darin Erstad, to attempt to fill the void left by Rowand. After both left fielder Scott Podsednik and center fielder Erstad went down due to injuries, Guillen turned to the speedy Jerry Owens.
Despite four separate, vain attempts to fill a void left in the outfield, as well as in the clubhouse, Kenny Williams went out and sold the farm to bring in another hard-nosed outfielder, Nick Swisher.
As a former White Sox killer, now turned South Sider, Swisher was brought in for his plate discipline and his attitude.
When not on the field diving to the dirt or running into the pads of the outfield walls or at-bat taking pitch after pitch, "Swish" can be seen running through the dugout shouting chants and encouragements.
Sox fans remember Scott Podsednik's game winning, walk off home run in game two of the WS in 2005. Who was the first one over the railing of the dugout to congratulate "Scotty Pods?" Rowand.
With each and every home run hit by a White Sox player this season, look to see who the first player to congratulate the home run hitter is. Swisher.
But what about the numbers?
Rowand had a break out year last season with the Phillies. He batted .307 while setting career highs in home runs (27), RBIs (89) and walks (47). He also won his first, and long over due, Gold Glove.
Swisher set some of his own career highs. Swisher batted .262 over the course of 150 games. However, he had a career high on-base percentage of .381 with 100 walks, 22 home runs, and 78 RBIs.
Rowand broke out in '07. Swisher had an off power year, but yet, still had a well above average on-base percentage.
Finally, with an everyday center fielder in Nick Swisher, a man with the same fire, passion, and desire as the man who helped lead the Sox to a WS, will White Sox fans embrace the new face in center field and begin to forget about the ghost of Aaron Rowand crashing into the walls at "the Cell?"
Only time will tell.
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