Witten by @CST_RickG
2012 was a miserable year to be a Cleveland Indians fan. The Indians had finished the season at 68-94. Their head coach at the time Manny Acta, was fired in late September and the roster was horrible. Remember these guys; Shelley Duncan, Aaron Cunningham, Jose Lopez, and Lou Marson. It amazing we didn’t win the World Series in 2012. That roster was incredible. Pardon my sarcasm; I’m still angered by the thought of Shelley Duncan starting in left field. Then in the offseason things started changing for the better.
On October 6, 2012 the Indians signed Terry Francona to be their new Head Coach. At the time this was the biggest news for Cleveland sports since LeBron left the Cavaliers. With Francona came a wave of optimism and through free agency came Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. This was the biggest offseason the Indians have had in my lifetime. I was ecstatic, especially about Nick Swisher.
Swisher was an All-star and World Series champion from the New York Yankees, and he chose to come play for the Cleveland Indians. This was a huge signing for the Tribe. They gave Swisher 4 years for $56/million, with an option for a 5th year. He came in with a career average of .254, but he was a guy who could hit 20-30 homeruns and have 80-100 RBI’s per season. He was also an electric personality who could definitely change the dynamic of the club house.
Swisher’s first year with the Indians was disappointing to say the least. He hit .246 with 22HR and 63RBI’s. The HR total was decent, but the average and RBI’s were way below expectation. He got a $56 million contract from the Indians of all teams. I’m sure some fans were expecting him to be Babe Ruth for that kind of money, but I at least expected Swisher to at least play near his career high totals.
The Indians fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in the “Wild Card Play in Game” to end their 2013 campaign. The Indians had an amazing turn around finishing the regular season at 92-70 and the optimism for Swisher and the Indians for 2014 was sky high. So far in 2014 Nick Swisher is hitting .200 with 5HR and 24RBI’s. Wow, have things taken a turn for the worse for Swisher. Most fans are unhappy with Swisher and he is now being labeled by some as “the worst signing in Indians history”. That is pretty bad considering the Indians paid Travis Hafner $57 million.
Until the 10th inning on Wednesday afternoon in a game vs. the LA Angels, Swisher was playing even worse. He had 3 strikeouts in the game, but then he came to bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th. Swisher hit a walk off grand slam, and with it he bought back some good faith from the Cleveland fans. I have always been on the Swisher band wagon. I like his attitude and I like the way he plays the game. He isn’t a showboat, and he isn’t one of those guys who makes an out and then destroys a dugout. He plays with enthusiasm and love for the game.
I think Swisher will have a big 2nd half of the season. If he can hit near .300 the rest of the season and start driving in runs, I think he will be fine. The Tribe could use another bat in the lineup and I think Swisher is the guy who is going to deliver. Someone who has his track record and attitude is should be able to bounce back in a big way. Swisher could be the spark that sends the Indians on a huge winning streak and I’m already pulling out my credit card for Playoff Tickets.
Written by Rick Giavonette
Follow me on Twitter- @CST_RickG