Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bleacher Leader: We Left Swish Alone

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bleacher Leader: We Left Swish Alone

Article excerpt

DETROIT -- The Bleacher Creatures are not to blame for the taunting that got under Nick Swisher's skin, according to "Bald" Vinny Milano, who leads the first-inning roll call at Yankee Stadium.

Swisher said he was "hurt" by fans who harped on him missing a ball in the lights in the 12th inning of ALCS Game 1, the play that preceded Derek Jeter's fractured ankle suffered on a ground ball.

"Next thing you know, I'm the reason Jeter got hurt," Swisher said.

Milano responded via text to The Record, saying any threats or over-the-line criticisms were "certainly not coming from my crew in the bleachers. We would NEVER do that to Swish or anyone in pinstripes."

There were some harsh reactions directed toward Swisher from fans in the right-field box seats, Milano said, but the fans' frustration seemed directed at Swisher's overall performance.

Swisher was benched by Joe Girardi for Tuesday's Game 3. The manager was made aware of Swisher's situation with the fans earlier Tuesday.

"You do have some frustration that we all have to ... try to deal with and try to put it aside," Girardi said in his only comments on the matter.

In 35 games as a Yankee in the postseason, Swisher is hitting .159 (20-for-126) with six RBI and 36 strikeouts.

Since his arrival in '09, Swisher had been popular among the Stadium's right-field bleacher fans for his constant interaction, including his salutes during roll call and his taped pregame player introduction.

But in Game 2, Swisher purposely took his between-inning warm-up throws closer to the infield to avoid the fans.

"That's the last thing I ever thought would be in this ballpark; that people would get on you that bad," Swisher said after Game 2. Despite his frustration, Swisher said, "I've been lucky to be here for the past four years ... and we're not going to go out [in October] like this."

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