Fans' harsh criticism disappoints Swisher

Nick Swisher reacts after being called out at

Nick Swisher reacts after being called out at second base. (Oct. 10, 2012) (Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

Yankees fans turned their backs on the struggling Nick Swisher, and during Sunday's 3-0 ALCS loss to the Tigers, the soon-to-be free agent turned his back on them.

In the middle of another brutal October for Swisher, who has been booed throughout the postseason, the rightfielder barely acknowledged his fans. It was a stark departure for Swisher, who arrived in a 2009 trade, then made himself a favorite with his jovial personality and his constant interaction. The lovefest ended Sunday.

"It hurts," said Swisher, who said he was disappointed by the fans' behavior. "Sometimes I'm a sensitive guy. Some of the things people say, they get under your skin a little bit. But hey, man, I've been lucky to be here for the last four years, bro, and we're not going to go out like this."


ALCS box scores: Game 4 | Game 3 Game 2 | Game 1


But if the Yankees are knocked out in Detroit, Swisher's critical remarks about the fans likely will be his final act in New York. The 31-year-old will be a free agent at season's end and is unlikely to re-sign.

After his final plate appearance, Swisher said fans serenaded him with: "Na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye."

Swisher's regular-season performances have been overshadowed by consistent postseason failure. To more boos, he was 1-for-3, which put his 2012 postseason average at .154 (4-for-26).

Swisher acknowledged that getting booed for poor performances is "part of the game," especially in New York, where "there's a lot of expectations." But he also railed against jeers he heard in ALCS Game 1 when he had trouble with a line drive in the 12th and his misplay allowed the go-ahead run to score. One play later, Derek Jeter fractured his ankle.

"Prime example," Swisher said. "I missed that ball in the lights and next thing you know, I'm the reason that Jeter got hurt. It's kind of frustrating . . . They were saying it was my fault."

He added, "When things kind of turn like that, it obviously hurt a little bit because this is the type of city and crowd that really rallies around their team, and that's the reason we've got 27 championships. But to go through a stretch like this where it's kind of a negative attitude, a negative-type setting, that's tough."

Swisher arrived at Yankee Stadium Sunday determined to keep his distance. He typically takes warm-up throws near the rightfield fence, within earshot of fans. But he took his tosses closer to the infield.

He began his "Swisher Salute" in 2009 to acknowledge the Bleacher Creatures during the traditional roll call. This time, fans in rightfield noted on Twitter that he offered only a lackluster greeting.

The fans have been on Alex Rodriguez, too. "We haven't scored a run in a long time," he said. "I'm right there with them. You can't blame them."

Still, Swisher said he was surprised by the intensity of the criticism at home. "If you go up there and get a hit, you might not hear much," he said. "But if you make an out, you're definitely going to hear about it. But hey, that's kind of the way it is here."

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