From the top rope
August 06, 2020

Ozzie Guillen still really hates Nick Swisher

In the video I'm about to show you from a White Sox post-game show, former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen goes all in on Nick Swisher, a player he managed for one year in 2008. I want to preface it by saying this: I am a Yankees fan who delighted in Swisher's antics the very next year, but I think Ozzie might be onto something. Let's hear it from the man himself:

"I hate Nick Swisher with my heart."

That's the main takeaway, and it's not very ambiguous. You can see a slightly longer version here. The whole thing was prompted when Guillen was asked whether he hated Swisher or Carlos Gomez more, which is an oddly provocative question for a post-game show.

"I think he hate me back, there's nothing wrong with that," Guillen continued. "I don't like the way his attitude was all fake. I don't like fake people."

When his co-host responded that he only managed Swisher for a year, Guillen dropped one last zinger: "It was one year too long."

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So, here's the deal. Nick Swisher is someone who was constantly laughing and joking during his playing days, and seemed happy-go-lucky on the surface. It played well with Yankee fans for a while, but the Yankees won the World Series in 2009, and it was a good time for anyone to be along for the ride. With the White Sox a year earlier, Swisher was just plain bad, hitting .212 with a .414 slugging percentage. A lot of fans considered him a choker, and eventually, Yankee fans agreed—despite some strong stretches, he was godawful when it mattered most. Lifetime, his postseason batting average was .165, and with 47 games played, it's not that small a sample size. By 2012, Yankee fans were booing him, and he'd worn out his welcome in the Bronx.

Now, does poor pressure play make someone a bad person? No. Not at all. And I haven't been inside the locker room to understand how much of what Guillen implies is true. But Swisher is somebody who's constantly "on," and if Guillen considers him a phony, it's easy to see how the contrast between his grinning frat bro persona and his struggles as a player (Guillen once described him as "horses***t" for the White Sox) can become irritating to a manager.

Of course, being irritated and outright hating someone are quite different, and we'll probably never know the full extent of what went down between these guys. But, hey, let's applaud Guillen for speaking his mind, whether it's about Nick Swisher or, um...Fidel Castro.