Commentary

Swisher making case for Anaheim

Yankees outfielder ramps up All-Star campaign with a big night in Oakland

Updated: July 8, 2010, 10:42 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted to vote for him. Jessica Alba and Ivanka Trump, of all people, have as well. The campaign has reached the masses.

The Yankees and right fielder Nick Swisher have pulled out all the gimmicks, running a 21st century, technologically-advanced campaign that has received publicity from the "Today Show" to Boys & Girls Clubs.

"I feel like I'm a politician," Swisher said.

But here is the thing: Even in this Twitter-LeBron World we live in, if you are going to win the vote, substance still counts.

Forgetting who shouldn't go, Swisher deserves to be an All-Star.

As the voting for the final All-Star spot closes at 4 p.m. Thursday, Swisher put together the equivalent of a final stump speech, detailing why he should ultimately prevail in this Yankees-Red Sox, Swisher vs. Kevin Youkillis online battle.

Swisher nearly hit for the cycle Tuesday night, nailing a homer, single and double as the Yankees beat the A's 6-2. He was on base four times. In the eighth, going for the cycle and with the Yankees having a four-run lead, Swisher angrily threw the bat away as he flew out to center.

Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, with pitching coach Dave Eiland by his side again, resurrected the good A.J. with a second consecutive solid outing as he threw what manager Joe Girardi described as his best changeup as a Yankee. First baseman Mark Teixeira -- who is back to his normal July form -- hit a three-run shot. And shortstop Derek Jeter added an RBI for a second consecutive game after going nearly three weeks without one.

After the sweep of the A's, the Yankees have won five straight and are a season-high 22 games over .500.

Swisher, though, is the story -- rocking the vote and the ball. Teixeira and third baseman Alex Rodriguez are hot, but there were times in the first half when Swisher was the most important hitter in the lineup after second baseman Robinson Cano.

Swisher has 10 three-hit games this season. The only other Yankee with 10 three-hit games is Cano.

Swisher leads the Yankees in enthusiasm for the new-age technology. Before he spoke to the media after the win, he asked, "Is my tie straight?" He spoke about being stressed over the voting.

"I want to go," Swisher said.

He is showing it on the field and online. While Jeter says he will never have a Twitter account, Swisher loves his and he has over a million followers. On Wednesday, Bloomberg -- or presumably one of his assistants -- wrote, "Let's send @NickSwisher to 2010 All-Star Game!" The mayor provided a link to MLB.com to vote for Swisher. Swisher replied in a tweet, using the lowercase style to say, "thank u for ur support. honor to rep nyc."

While Swisher is leading the charge from his video spot where he solicits support in his quest to take part in Tuesday's All-Star Game in Anaheim, the Yankees' public relations staff has been working overtime. They sent their interns with "Send Swish" signs down to the "Today Show" and got a picture with newscaster Anne Curry with one.

General manager Brian Cashman, for a second consecutive day, will go to a Boys & Girls Club to teach children how to vote for Swisher. In the dugout before Wednesday's game, public relations director Jason Zillo had his laptop out so closer Mariano Rivera, among others, could take pictures and vote for Swisher.

"I have my kids voting," Girardi said. "We've had everybody voting."

But Swisher deserves to go less because of how he is drumming up support and more about how he is drumming the baseball. At .298 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs, he has All-Star numbers. It's that simple.

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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