The comparison usually has a negative overtone, but not in this context. "I felt like a politician the last four days," Nick Swisher said.
It was an apt analogy, because since Monday, when on-line voting began for the American League's final All-Star roster spot, Swisher found himself experiencing the daily see-saw of the polls. Up one day. Down the next. Back up again.
And that's where Swisher's roller-coaster week ended Thursday- on an upswing, as he found out he had earned his first All-Star berth. "First person I called was my dad," Swisher said of his father, Steve, an All-Star in 1976 with the Cubs. "We were just really excited to have a father/son combination like that. It's pretty cool."
Swisher, hitting .298 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs entering last night's game against the Mariners, narrowly beat out Kevin Youkilis for the spot. The Boston first baseman took a slim lead Tuesday, but Swisher overtook him Wednesday before pulling out the victory.
Across the board, Swisher's political reference fit. His victory capped a "Send Swish'' campaign in which an all-volunteer army of fans, family, friends (famous and otherwise), teammates and even his manager and general manager mounted a furious get-out-the-vote cyberspace drive to get Swisher to Anaheim.
Longtime Massachusetts senator and former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry e-mailed a statement on Youkilis' behalf. Swisher's soldiers countered with a salvo of "Send Swish'' Tweets emanating from, among others, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ivanka Trump and Jessica Alba.
"Every time he comes in the dugout after he gets a hit, we're going, 'Send him, send him,' " A.J. Burnett said after picking up Wednesday night's victory.
In Wednesday's postgame session with reporters, Joe Girardi said his kids had been voting all week. "We're still voting," he said before pausing and looking into the camera. "[You] vote, too."
General manager Brian Cashman went to the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx to vote with the kids there Wednesday and did the same Thursday at the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx.
Cashman said the excursions were an opportunity to lend the Yankees' presence at the clubs, something close to Swisher's heart - "He does so much off the field," Cashman said - but also to "show he has the power of the Bronx behind him."
In a quiet moment - or what passes for one, considering we're talking about Swisher here - Wednesday in Oakland, he seemed surprised at Cashman's involvement.
"It makes me feel amazing," Swisher said. "It makes me feel so good that the team has your back like that. I couldn't be more excited about it. I've always said I'm so blessed to be here. Situations like these, you feel like you're on top of the world."
But behind the glitzy - and at times bizarre - social-media campaign, Cashman said, was a deserving candidate who found his performance in last year's postseason unacceptable.
Swisher exceeded most expectations in the 2009 regular season, hitting .249 (his career average entering 2010 was .245) with 29 homers and 82 RBIs. But he hit .128 in the postseason.
That inspired an offseason workout program that helped him shed 12 pounds and led to some work in December with hitting coach Kevin Long, who wanted to see less movement in the outfielder's swing. "What you saw is Swish go back to the drawing board and address weaknesses that had been exposed," Cashman said. "What you're seeing are the results of a lot of hard work. He had a plan, worked at it, and it's paying off."
Getting his first All-Star berth at 29 is almost too much for Swisher to comprehend.
"Sometimes it takes a little longer for some guys to pick it up. Maybe it clicked for me a little later," he said. "But it's so great to see all that hard work that you've put in and all that sweat and work and blisters and things like that, and to be put in the situation like this, it makes you feel like it's all worth it."