Rooting against the Yankees is a time-honored tradition in all parts of the country not named New York. People really don't need an excuse to hate the Yankees. They win all the time, and that pisses people off. Further, they have a $208 million payroll and pretty much buy all their moments. Nothing they accomplish seems genuine.
But I have a different reason for rooting against the Yankees this postseason. I can't stand Nick Swisher, former White Sox outfielder and current New York right fielder. The funny thing is I was in favor of the trade when the Sox acquired Swisher prior to the start of the 2008 season. Then, I had to watch Swisher play every day and I started to wonder what I was thinking. I wasn't thinking.
Swisher hit .219 with the Sox and struck out a whopping 135 times in 497 at-bats. Swisher gave himself the nickname of "Dirty 30," as he wore jersey No. 30 with the Sox. I thought "Dirty .230" was more appropriate, given that .230 was more in line with his batting average. Sure, he hit 24 homers with the Sox, but by the end of the season, Swisher was benched in favor of Dewayne Wise.
Yes, that Dewayne Wise. Amazingly enough, Sox fans all pretty much agreed the team was better off in the 2008 playoffs with Wise in the lineup instead of Swisher. That's how bad Swisher was.
I rejoiced when Swisher was traded to the Yankees. But ever since then, Tribune columnist Phil Rogers has been giving me an almost permanent case of nausea with his insistence that the Sox made a horrible mistake by trading Swisher. NO, NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES, NO, PHIL. Swisher stunk with the Sox and didn't fit in well. We should all be glad he's gone.
Given my distaste for Swisher, imagine my horror when "Dirty .230" stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and two outs and the Yankees trailing 7-6 in Thursday night's Game 5 of the ALCS. Immediately, I thought of Rogers and how he'd probably have a joygasm if Swisher somehow delivered the hit to send the Yankees to the World Series.
Thank goodness, Angels closer Brian Fuentes retired Swisher on a popout to shortstop, and Los Angeles won to force a Game 6 Saturday night in New York. I, of course, almost had a joygasm watching Swisher fail in the clutch. My only regret is he doesn't strike out looking on a fastball right down the middle, as he did so many times with the Sox.
Swisher is now batting .103 in the postseason, and there are rumblings that the Yankees need to bench him. Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it Sox fans? At the very least, it has to bring a knowing smile.