Tell us what you really think, Ozzie
Former MLB outfielder Nick Swisher’s personality is, shall we say, an acquired taste. He always seems like he’s been mainlining coffee. The guy is just dialed up to 11 at all times. Check out this video of him at All-Star Game batting practice last year, where he cackles like a hyena every 20 seconds.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are people out there who don’t vibe with Swish. Ozzie Guillen, who managed Swisher in his one season with the White Sox in 2008, is definitely one of them.
Guillen is now an analyst for NBC Sports Chicago, working on the network’s White Sox postgame show. On Wednesday night, host Chuck Garfien teed up Guillen with a doozy of a prompt: “Who did you dislike more? Carlos Gomez or Nick Swisher?” And Guillen did not hold back.
“Oh my god,” Guillen replied. “Nick—nobody can compare that with Nick Swisher. I hate Nick Swisher with my heart.”
Guillen called Swisher “fake” and said his one season in Chicago was “one year too long.”
Swisher’s 2008 season with the Sox was a total mess. He was traded from Oakland to Chicago before the season in exchange for Gio González (then a promising prospect) and Ryan Sweeney (who would go on to be an everyday player for the A’s). He started the season as the White Sox’ leadoff hitter but by the end of May was hitting mostly in the seventh and eighth spots, even as low as ninth, as his batting average hovered around .200. He wasn’t any better in the field. Swisher, who played mostly right field for the A’s, was deployed in center by Guillen, where he was worth a whopping -11 defensive runs saved in just 70 games.
Off the field, Swisher was just as much of a headache. Guillen benched him for having a poor attitude, telling the Chicago Tribune after the season that he “was not happy with the way [Swisher] was reacting at the end of the season.”
Swisher was shipped out of town just weeks after the season ended, traded to the Yankees for a packaged headlined by utilityman Wilson Betemit. He was a starter on a World Series–winning team the next year and was an All-Star the year after that. His lousy season in Chicago was a blip on the radar of a very solid career, so you can’t blame Guillen for being frustrated he didn’t get peak Nick Swisher. You just have to wonder what else went down for him to hold such a grudge against him 12 years later.
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