Swish … Redemption!
I’ve never seen the mid-1990s comedy flick “Dumb and Dumber,” and didn’t have a clue about what it’s about till after Wednesday’s 6-4 Yankees win over Baltimore at the Stadium.
And then Nick Swisher changed that by quoting from it. Leave it to him.
Here’s what I’d find out poking around online: In the story, two guys named Harry and Lloyd get involved in various hijinks while on a cross-country haul to return a valise full of money to a beautiful woman. They’ve got a van that looks like a dog, but then Lloyd sells the Dog Van for a dinky little moped in the middle of nowhere because it’s more fuel efficient, figuring it’ll ultimately get the two of them to their far-off destination. Dumb, get it?
So anyway, when Lloyd rides up to Harry on the scooter, and brags about it getting seventy miles per gallon — thanks, YouTube — Harry has a minor rant that goes: “You know Lloyd, just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!”
Dumb and dumber, see?
Now, back to where this education all started for me, namely the Yankee clubhouse following the game, which completed a series sweep for the Yanks, boosted them to a season-high twenty games over .500, and would, by day’s end, give them a two-game lead over the Red Sox for the top spot in the AL East.
There at his locker, Swisher, who’d gone from potential goat to hero all in the course of an eventful third inning, and then tacked on even more flashy heroics a little later, was paraphrasing Harry’s line about redemption. Well, actually, he was quoting A.J. Burnett, who’d just earned his fourth win in a row.
What happened was that at top of the third inning, with the Yankees up 4-0, Burnett got the Orioles’ leadoff hitter Brian Roberts to fly out to right field with a serious 95-mph fastball — except Swisher blew the easy catch. He was there, his glove was there, the ball was there … and then the ball was on the ground and Roberts was on second base. Bad, bad error.
Right around that point, I’m in the press box getting set to complain about Swisher right here in this spot, which regular readers know I’ve done in the past. In fact, to come totally clean, I even text my friend the Fellow Author down in the stands with his son, reminding him Swisher’s misplay is the very sort that makes me complain about him so often.
Things got tricky for Burnett from there. The second batter up, center fielder Adam Jones, singled off him to put runners on first and third with no outs. Then Nick Markakis, the third man at the plate for Baltimore, fouled one off to left, where it was caught by Johnny Damon, moving Jones to second base, and putting men on second and third. One out, but with power-hitting Aubrey Huff up next, Burnett was still in big, big trouble because of the bad, bad Swisher error.
When he got Huff to strike out swinging, off-balancing him with two 85-mph curveballs after firing off a couple of 95-97 mph heaters, it looked like Burnett might be on his way out of the big, bad woods.
And then to the plate comes super-utility guy Ty Wigginton, who can put together tough at-bats, and hit the ball hard and deep sometimes. Which is just what he did to Burnett’s sixth pitch to him, an upper-nineties fastball that was actually pretty well located, but got hammered out toward the right field wall nonetheless. Back, back, back, with Swisher racing back too.
And up in the box I’m thinking, no way he can catch that rocket. I’m thinking here it comes, a two-run double, the lead cut in half all because of Swisher’s big, bad error.
And Swisher shows what I know. He makes a spectacular, improbable running catch going all-out for that ball, and then hops up onto the wall for punctuation with the ball in his glove.
Inning over. Yankees heading off the field. Swisher jogging toward the dugout and Burnett with an ear-to-ear grin on his face.
And Burnett hollers, paraphrasing Harry from “Dumb and Dumber:” “You to-tally redeemed yourself!”
There it was. Baseball redemption, Nick Swisher style. He would add to it by making another leaping catch at the wall to save an extra-base hit in the sixth and contributing offensively with two walks, a hit and a pair of RBIs.
Later, Swisher wouldn’t make excuses for his second-inning error. Instead he emphasized that “today as A.J.’s day”, and laughed when I joked about whether he’d felt Ichiro making those two catches out there in right.
“I don’t know. I was pretty [ticked] off I missed the first one,” he said. “So getting the opportunity to redeem myself, to make the catch and end the inning, in the same inning, was definitely a good thing.” Then looking me right in the eye with a big, big smile, he added: “I couldn’t have been more happy about that one.”
Nor could Mariano Rivera when asked about having Swisher for a teammate. “Nick Swisher is crazy,” he said at his locker. “He’s wild, a great personality. You’ve got to have personalities like that when the team is maybe too tense.”
And, seriously, who can argue with Mo? He has been around that locker room a while, you know.
So after all my complaining here in this space, big mouth that I am, I’m ready to eat a dirt sandwich. Not to say I won’t get on his case if he does something boneheaded. But with Nick Swisher, you take the bad with the good, because in the final tally it’s worth it.
If you don’t believe me, just ask Rivera.
Baseball redemption at it’s best… LOL! I come to realize that Swisher is too likeable to hate.. and I believe anything Mariano Rivera says. Another great column Jerome.
You know me, I have been on Swishers case of late myself…but like we all really deep down know, from spring training witht he loud clubhouse music to current day he brings something lacking to the clubhouse that has it more alove…wven with his horrible average he still seems to some how at the very least look like he is in the game with dirt all over his uniform. We saw him here in Tampa in March, not really knowing much about him from his Whitesox days, and I found him to be even funnier in person…a live wire good guy nut case. If it gets us to #27 I will too be more than happy to eat a dirt sandwich with the mud pie for desert.
LOL JP….at least I could go on media blackout with the missed catch then say…WTH when I see they didn’t score then rewind to see Swish’s fab catch. He totally yinged and yanged in that inning and Yankee universe was balanced once more.
Hey Jerome! Before commenting I have to tell you ~ I spent about 10 days recently in Harborside, Maine. I have a much better idea what it means that you live “Deep in the Red”! Serious Red Sox nation in Maine!!! OY!!!
Regarding Swisher, I really believe that the +s he brings to the Yankees far outweigh the -s. While I’ll definitely be upset if one of his outfield errors cost us a game, I’m glad we have him on the Yankees for his personality, bat & ability to get on base by drawing walks. I hope he continues to a Yankee!
Judy . . . I always tell ’em they don’t have a baseball team, being that the Red Sox aren’t called the New England Red Sox. That gets them even if they don’ t show it.
Harborside’s on the Penobscot Bay, right? What a beautiful area that is.
Val, Kevin, Ladytoni . . . I think we’re all on the page about Swisher. He’ll run into walls trying to catch a ball, and maybe one time he’ll conk his head and see stars, and another he’ll make a draw-dropping catch, but I’ll take his hustle every time over what we’ve seen out in right over the past few years. Also, you can hear about his upbeat personality and positive effect on clubhouse chemistry a million times on tv and the radio, but seeing it firsthand made me a believer. He adds something important the Yanks have lacked for too long.