The Swisher Press Conference: Why it was Important
I have to be honest, because of work I completely missed the Nick Swisher press conference on Thursday afternoon. Yet I did not feel like I missed a lot because of the simple reason that the presser dominated the sports scene for me on Twitter as I did not even need to watch it since there were about five or six people posting the quotes from it at the same time.
As I followed the presser through the use of technology it became more and more obvious just how important this event was. I could not recall this level of excitement for any Cleveland sports event in a long time. My Twitter feed was all about the press conference, and in an odd change, the Indians were the dominant story in January.
Obviously that viewpoint on Cleveland sports is biased as my focus is on Indians baseball since it is the subject I most often write about, but this does not mean they are the only team I follow, or that baseball is my only interest. Yet on Thursday the Indians did what they have done for the past month and stole the headlines and local interest from the Browns. The Browns are in the middle of a high profile coach search, yet all the news was about the Indians newest addition.
The key word for the day was excited, a word Swisher used in his press conference a lot, but it was also how the fans and even the media felt. You could tell that Swisher's excitement was infectious. The feeling on Twitter was that everyone was hanging on his words, that he had managed to start out 2013 with an excitement that the Indians in 2012 sorely lacked.
People often scoff at the idea of chemistry and excitement having an affect on teams, yet as anyone who works knows when things go bad and work is not fun, many just don't try as hard. I have been guilty - as I am sure many have - of mailing it in.
I think we saw the Indians mail in a season last year, as the negatives mounted we got to see a season collapse. During the collapse of last season it seemed like no one knew what to say because as pressure mounted players just tightened up even more. I don't think that will be an issue this year.
It is easy to see why fans would be excited. When was the last time the Indians signed a free agent away from the Yankees or from any team for that matter? Swisher is everything the Indians were not supposed to be able to get: a power hitter from the Yankees with a glamorous Hollywood wife and no noticeable black flags attached to him. After years of bargain shopping and signing guys who were full of questions, the Indians signed one of the top hitters on the market.
In the end this signing was huge not just for the Indians but for the city of Cleveland. A place where sports have caused more pain than joy, which has become a punch line throughout the country. A place most well known in recent years for the loss of its sports stars than for bringing new ones in. For once, Cleveland made national sports headlines for a positive reason which is something that had not happened since Lebron left.
This time the Indians were able to sign the local kid who was born in Columbus, raised across the river in Parkersburg , and then returned to play baseball for Ohio State University. They signed the free agent, instead of losing one. They showed a fan base in doubt that they were taking steps in the right direction. They started a new year with a positive energy that has not been seen around the corner of Carnegie and Ontario since the 90's.
The press conference showed that this signing was not just a flash in the pan move. They brought in new manager Terry Francona back in October and he might have been an even bigger "signing" this offseason as it helped pave the way for Swisher and seems to have set the Indians up with a new mindset moving forward. This makes 2013 the most anticipated season for me in over ten years.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can't wait till spring training!.
When you consider that Hafner didn't really bring any fans into the stadium, that's a plus with Swish'es contract
Year AB HR RBI BA
1965 592 26 108 .287
1966 533 30 72 .238
1967 381 8 50 .231
Swisher is a tremendous add in a time of need for the Indians.