Interview with Nick Swisher

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Last week, White Sox outfielder Nick Swisher called me up but I was unable to talk because I had to run. When I thought I would never get my interview with Nick, who has been set up since July, he called me back up yesterday to talk with me. Swisher is currently the outfielder and first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, and will be for at least the next five seasons. He has a foundation called Swish's Wishes, and I suggest you all take a look at as the holiday's roll on in. I want to thank Joe Bick at Pro Star Management for setting this interview up for me, I really appreciate it.

ELI: You grew up around baseball because your Dad played, do you think your success can be credited to being surrounded by baseball as a kid?

NICK: Definitely. Growing up around baseball taught me about what to do and things to know. It was almost like I learned the unwritten rules of the game. Instead of little league, where most kids were playing baseball, I was with my dad in the big leagues , and it definitely taught me a lot.

ELI: You are a switch hitter, when did you learned to become one and what did you do?

NICK: The only reason was because I was solely right handed. Me and my friends were goofing around with it and at one point a Cross-checker with the Rangers said I would hit more homeruns if I switch hit. But it definitely elevated my game being able to play everyday, whether it was against a right or left handed pitcher. I'm still learning about it, but it gives me an extra dimension which a lot of people do not have.

ELI: Billy Beane is known for finding the best players under the radar, what did it do for your confidence when Beane said how much he wanted you with the A's?

NICK: Well I only care about Oakland, but when I think about them, all I can think about are the Glory Days. You know, like the Bash Brothers, Dennis Eckersley, and Ricky Henderson. They have such a reputation for having fun and bring in young guys. I'm in a great situation, with a great organization.

ELI: Have you read the book Moneyball?

NICK: Bits and pieces of it.

ELI: You're rookie season was the last year of the big three, what were Zito, Mulder, and Hudson like in the clubhouse?

NICK: They were good guys. But being a rookie, I was treated like just another rookie. I stay in touch with Zito, but those guys were good because they put Oakland back on the map. And then there our guys like Giambi who put them on the map to begin with. At the time though, they were three young studs.

ELI: What was the draft experience like for you? What were your thoughts coming into the draft?

NICK: The biggest thing with the draft was that so many people said so many things. I was projected to go between the 2nd and 4th round. To be drafted in the first round, like my dad, was absolutely amazing. I feel like people work their whole life to get to a certain point, and that point for me was right there. I got a call in the morning and I was jumping around. My dad came running down stairs in his robe and we exchanged a big chest bump. I think it is impressive that both my dad and I were taken in the first round. It is and experience I can share with my dad, and no one can ever take it away from us.

ELI: Can you tell me about your foundation?

NICK: It is called Swish's Wishes. I started it after I signed my five year extension with the A's. I didn't really know what to do, but Kathy Jacobson was great and helped me a lot. I did not really want to focus in on one charity because I would like to help everyone, so I work with a lot of charities. We have raised 75-80,000 dollars, donating 20,000 of it to the Oakland A's Fund. It is a non-profit organization that helps under privileged children.

ELI: Bob Geren was a new manager this year for the A's, what was he like?

NICK: He was very laid back and likes to have fun. He dealt with over fifty players this year, and that is a lot, especially for a rookie manager. I think he did a great job.

ELI: You play a couple positions, what would you say is your natural position?

NICK: First base. I'm playing outfield a little bit but I am still figuring it out. Daric Barton is on the rise at first base and I am more than happy to make the move to make room. Again, it gives me an extra dimension to play multiple positions.

ELI: I hear you play some video games, what is in the system right now?

NICK: Well, me and a friend beat Halo-3 last night. And I'll probably play some games with my brother this week.

ELI: You know, I do not think there has been a good baseball game in awhile.

NICK: Yeah, I have one right now, but I have not played it enough to give you a full analysis [Laughs]. For me, it is cool that I can go on and play and not have to create myself, I can just play. But I know some guys at EA Sports and I am sure they will come up with something good for next season.

ELI: If there is one player on the A's who would be sleeping in the dugout during the game, who would it be?

NICK: Oh man, who would it be? I'd have to say Joe Blanton [Laughs]. I can just see him right now with his sun glasses on asleep on in the dugout [Laughs]. I can definitely see him doing that.

ELI: If you could face one pitcher in the past, who would it be?

NICK: Probably Bob Gibson. His stuff was so nasty and overpowering that it would be fun. Scary but fun.

ELI: You worked out really hard following the 2005 season and it showed in 2006, did your output motivate you to work even harder coming into this season?

NICK: The biggest thing as a player is you always want to get better. And to be honest, it is harder every time. When pitchers figure you out and begin to pound your weaknesses, you have to adjust or there is nothing you can do. I have so much respect for the guys that can go and do it every year. Pujols, Ortiz, Ramirez-all those guys are where I would like to be at where I can go out and hit consistently.

ELI: Do you follow baseball during the offseason?

NICK: Yeah, but it is on and off. Everyone needs a break and the offseason is my break from it.

ELI: Where do you see the A's upgrading this off season?

NICK: Getting some guys in the bullpen probably. But we have the best GM in the world, and I am behind him, and the whole front office 110%.


Anonymous 6:03 PM CDT  

what a dork swisher is ... what a bunch of losers the a's are ... great organization??? rank 26th in attendance in mlb again ... they have no fans, worst ballpark in the bigs and a sub-500 record ... what's so great about that?

a's suck!

Anonymous 6:03 PM CDT  

great interview-seems like a nice guy

Anonymous 6:03 PM CDT  

seems like a dork to me

Anonymous 6:07 PM CDT  

what an over-rated ballplayer he is ... low avg, ton of strikeouts and mediocre defense.

Anonymous 6:09 PM CDT  

yeah, and youre so you play baseball?

Anonymous 6:10 PM CDT  

one of the nicest guys in bball

Eli 6:10 PM CDT  

Definitely one of the best interviews I have had.

Anonymous 6:44 PM CDT  

You know I'm usually not one to critique someone else's spelling/grammar because I have a hard time myself but whoever typed this up should have proofread it. It's normal to see a few on this site but I thought it was really distracting this time.

Swisher is a really nice guy. We grew up in the same town with mutual friends. He may be a dork but hey I'm a dork. I do stupid stuff all the time and make fun of myself for it. People like to give him a hard time because he is always enjoying himself. Envy truly is a cardinal sin; whoever made those first few posts obviously needs a little help.

Anonymous 9:29 PM CDT  

a great read

Anonymous 10:18 AM CDT  

I agree with the first few posters ... what a total loser swisher is and what a total bunch of losers the a's are.

Anonymous 4:24 PM CDT  

It's funny people can call swisher a 'loser' for being a 'dork.' I will tell you one thing, he definitely has his head on straight, even with the money he has ran into in the past few years. ANYONE who can post a 850+ OPS as a switch hitter, on a team with NO protection(top 3 in AL in walks, hard to hit when you rarely get good pitches to hit), WHILE switching positions is a great player. There is no team that couldn't upgrade with Swisher on it(especially with his versatility)

Anonymous 4:39 PM CDT  

Q. What is a player called who has a career batting avg of around .250 and strikes out 25% of the time, plays mediocre defense and has no speed, yet thinks he's waaaaay too cool and likes to show people what a dork he is with a different (mostly dorky) look with his facial hair each night?

A. Overrated (swisher)

Anonymous 4:41 PM CDT  
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Anonymous 4:47 PM CDT  
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Anonymous 4:48 PM CDT  

Giambi was right ... have you ever been to oakland???

Anonymous 4:48 PM CDT  
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Anonymous 8:03 PM CDT  

It's okay that some immature kid can't respect the third most historied franchise in the history of the game. I'm glad that you can't grasp onto an ounce of intelligence and slam it down in a post, instead having to resort to ad hominems about how the A's suck. If you want to talk about organization success then list your MLB team and put down a valid argument. Don't give me the, "Oakland has no fans! look at their attendance," because I have been a season ticket holder for 7 years now(as long as I could afford them), and that argument doesn't bode well when you're debating with someone who does their part to fill the attendance void.

Anonymous 8:50 PM CDT  
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Anonymous 8:50 PM CDT  

let's go chokeland!

Anonymous 8:50 PM CDT  
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Anonymous 9:12 PM CDT  

welcome to tarpoleum!!!

Anonymous 9:12 PM CDT  

hey there are alot of people here dressed up as TARPS!!!!!

Anonymous 9:13 PM CDT  

can you choose your seats in tarpland?

Anonymous 9:13 PM CDT  

hey there tarp-man!!!

Anonymous 9:18 PM CDT  

presenting your 2008 tarpoleum pathetics!!!

Anonymous 9:18 PM CDT  
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Anonymous 2:20 PM CDT  

Who would buy season tickets to this pathetic franchise?

Anonymous 2:33 AM CDT  

pathetic franchise that has the third most WS titles in the game. Unless the people on here at Cards or Yankee fans id be quiet cause A's franchise is better than yours.

Anonymous 10:04 AM CDT  

too bad nobody cares about 'em.

and no you're not better than mine.


Anonymous 5:50 PM CDT  

Give the A's a couple years where they can restablish their farm system and again rise to the top of the AL West.

Anonymous 6:59 PM CDT  

a's suck

Anonymous 8:58 PM CDT  

just to critique some of the above posts
- low batting average- meaningless his batting average this year was .262 which by some people would be considered bad but just realize that with just 10 more hits( maybe playing in more hitter-friendly ballpark) his batting average is .280. This is why using batting average as a stat is ridiculous.
- tons of strikeouts- equally as meaningless, as 1 strikeout = 1 groundball out = 1 flyball out. All outs are bad, so what if somebody has a disproportional amount of one type of out as long as they are not getting out in general (which as evidenced by Swisher's .381 OBP is true in this case.
- Swisher is a bad fielder- inaccurate. Although it's true that he plays a much more effective first base than outfield, he posted a solid ZR of .915,and a good range factor of 2.370.
- he's a dork- can't really argue this

Anonymous 9:49 PM CDT  

how 'bout this ... you're a dork

Anonymous 10:02 PM CDT  

hey, just wondering ... how's the view from the tarps???????????

Anonymous 10:13 PM CDT  
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Anonymous 10:13 PM CDT  

a's fans suck