Giddy Swisher claims tight AL Final Vote
Thanks to fans, outfielder becomes eighth Yanks All-Star
SEATTLE -- Nick Swisher could feel the minutes ticking down toward Major League Baseball's announcement on Thursday, when the Final Vote winners for both leagues would be revealed and two more players would report to work calling themselves All-Stars.
It wouldn't have done Swisher any good to sit in his hotel room sweating about it, so he wandered down to Seattle's Pike Place Market, clearing his head on a morning stroll. And wouldn't you know it -- someone spotted him, yelling, "Hey, Swish, I voted for you!"
So did plenty of others. When the last ballot was cast on Thursday afternoon and MLB ran the numbers, Swisher had beaten out the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis, compiling 9.8 million votes in the closest Final Vote race in the program's nine-year history.
"Things like that that make you feel so good," Swisher said. "People were telling me, everywhere I went. I'm just excited and couldn't be happier for all the support."
Swisher becomes the eighth Yankee with All-Star ties, joining American League starters Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, plus Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes.
Sabathia and Rivera will not participate in the Midsummer Classic. Swisher entered Thursday's series opener at Seattle with a .298 average to go along with 14 homers, 48 RBIs and 52 runs scored. During the four days his campaign was in motion, Swisher was 8-for-17 (.471) with two doubles, three runs scored and a home run.
"I think he had fun with it, he enjoyed the process, and that's just who Swish is. He's got that type of personality," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who will be piloting the AL squad.
"I'm going to have a lot of guys that I know very well. Swish is a switch-hitter that gives you a lot of options if we need an outfielder, and he can also play first base if we need him to. He gives us some flexibility."
When Swisher was conducting a telephone interview with MLB Network from the visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field after the news broke on Thursday, both Joba Chamberlain and Jeter came into the equipment manager's office, yelling their congratulations loudly in an attempt to fluster their fun-loving teammate.
"It's been great, man," Swisher said. "All my teammates are happy for me, and that's the greatest thing, especially coming on a fan vote like that. It just goes to show you how important our fans are. They're the reason we are who we are. I can't thank them enough."
Swisher said that he got the news from Yankees director of media relations Jason Zillo, who buzzed his cell phone on Thursday afternoon. Swisher's initial reaction: "Man, quit messing around."
But Swisher should not have been surprised, because his support seemed to come from all angles. Even general manager Brian Cashman spent afternoons flooding Yankees.com with votes alongside two Boys & Girls Clubs in the Bronx, and an audience of Swisher's own 1.2 million Twitter followers were happy to click and click again.
"That's a lot of support. It goes to show you how strong the Yankees universe is," Swisher said. "It's so crazy. I've felt like a politician for the last four days. You're up in the polls, you're down in the polls. I was like, 'Man, this is taxing!'
"I'm glad it's over, but I couldn't be more excited."
Swisher said the first person he called was his dad, Steve, who represented the National League in 1976 as an All-Star Cubs catcher.
"We were just really excited," Swisher said. "I think to have a father-son combination like that is pretty cool. To finally get my first one and be able to enjoy all my teammates too, it's an awesome feeling."
Swisher has had some fun showing off his World Series ring in the last few months, but now he looks forward to flashing a little All-Star hardware around as well.
"It's just been a blessing to be over here, especially coming off 2008," Swisher said. "My life has just completely turned around, and every day is a good day for me. I love what I do, and to have this opportunity to go represent your team in the All-Star Game, it's a dream come true."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.