As you know, we don’t like the Yankees around here, but we know class when we see it — especially, as Mets fans, class in the face of futility — so we must tip our orange-and-blue cap to Nick Swisher, utility infielder, who stepped in to pitch for the Yanks during the 8th in last night’s 15-5 debacle against the Rays in Florida, and allowed one hit and no runs. Swisher got loose out there and actually struck out Gabe Kapler, who looks pissed about it — whereas Swisher looks like he has the giggles. “You have to laugh to keep from crying,” says one of the announcers, but even if we had money on this game we doubt tears would be a possibility; Swisher’s 60 mph fastballs are just a damned treat.
Every year or two a non-pitcher gets pulled off the bench to throw during a hopeless blowout, usually not very effectively. But last year the Royals’ Tony Pena Jr. actually managed a 12-pitch hitless inning versus the Tigers including a Pudge Rodriguez strikeout. And in 1988 the Cards’ utility man Jose Oquendo pitched four innings against the Braves, gave up two runs, and earned the first non-pitcher’s decision (albeit a loss) since the 1960s.
These oddities are almost as distracting and entertaining as late-inning no-hitters, and considerably less nerve-wracking. We needed one of these. Thanks, Yanks.