The following (and rather long) e-mail came off my keyboard months ago. But, seeing that Nick is now leaving the Bay Area, I wanted to post it here. I like that guy as a ballplayer. By the way, he responded to what I wrote with an e-mail addressed to my son, where he asked that we get in touch with him via e-mail the next time the A's played the Mariners in Seattle. Now that wasn't all bad, eh?
"Where do we send a Nick Swisher picture that I drawed (sic) with markers?"
-J... D..., 4
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Hey man. I've liked and appreciated your dedication to the game and your overall style since you appeared in Moneyball. With that in mind, I went to Opening Day between the A's and Mariners this year and witnessed something that you probably don't even remember. During the pregame commotion (which was a bit overwhelming), dedications, ceremonial first pitches, warm-ups, memorial tributes, etc, a lone kid was introduced and began to ceremonially run the bases.
I was sitting on the third base side of Safeco Field about nine rows back as you and some of your teammates stretched; the Mariners were over in the Right Field area. You guys were getting ready for Opening Day, doing your thing, totally understandable. But, as the kid started off to first, you and only you broke from the guys who were stretching and walked toward third, applauding the kid the whole way. When he reached second, he was tired. He looked up, struggling to keep his pace. That is until he saw you about 90 feet from him, cheering him on. The kid visibly lifted himself and ran toward and then past you with a combined look of glee and amazement. You stayed where you were and kept cheering him on until he reached home plate. Then, you returned to complete your stretches.
I never expected any player to have done anything at that point other than prepare for the game at hand. What was so damn cool was that you noticed through the din of Opening Day at Safeco Field. You took the few minutes to demonstrate that you cared, all in a way that that lone kid will probably never forget. It was very cool and I, a 37 year-old San Francisco Giants fan, noticed.
I returned home and bought my son--who's favorite color is green--an A's t-shirt with 33 Swisher across the back. He LOVES that shirt! And, when I'm watching a Giants game, my son asks me if I can turn it to the "Athletics" to "watch Nick Swisher play." Maybe you get a lot of these type of messages, but you're a hit in our home.
As I noted above, my son made you a picture. He doesn't get that you're a professional baseball player living a long way away and having an independent life...well, he wanted to "give (send) it to you."
Enjoy the off-season and best of luck in the future.