Nick Swisher has never been shy about getting his face and loquacious personality in front of a camera, which perhaps makes him an ideal fit to campaign for this year's American League Final Vote.
No offense to his other competitors -- Boston's Kevin Youkilis, Texas' Michael Young, Chicago's Paul Konerko and Minnesota's Delmon Young -- but none of them are, as radio broadcaster John Sterling says after big home runs, "Swish-a-licious."
"I think Swish is probably the perfect guy for campaigning for himself," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Swish is a personality that loves to have fun and is not afraid to do anything on the video board, no matter what they ask him to do. Swish is good at it."
Case in point: Minutes after Yankees director of media relations Jason Zillo informed Swisher that he was a Final Vote candidate on Sunday, Swisher was in front of a green screen, rocking a Tommy Bahama shirt and sunglasses, holding a surfboard and imploring fans to "Send Swish" to the All-Star Game.
"I love it," Swisher said. "This is the Yankees, man. They do everything first class. I'm proud to be part of them. It's an honor to be part of them."
That clip was replayed several times on the Yankee Stadium video screen Sunday, and was also peppered on Yankees.com. "Send Swish" has become a rallying cry for the organization, but the Yankees' West Coast trip this week to Oakland and Seattle complicates matters.
"Obviously, we can't just put it on the video screen," Zillo said.
So the Yankees have had to flex their creative muscles. As fans have been repeatedly urged to vote, there is incentive -- those voting for Swisher via MLB.com will be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to an upcoming Yankees home game, as well as one of several Swisher autographed baseballs.
There is also broader campaign in place. Zillo said his department dispatched interns to the city streets outside NBC's "Today" show Monday, waving large placards with Swisher's face and the words "Send Swish!"
In addition, Swisher is opening himself up to more interviews than usual this week. Some national radio spots are being scheduled, and there is interest in plugging the Final Vote candidacy on New York morning television shows, reaching the audience most likely to "Send Swish" during the work day.
"I feel like I'm on Miss America or something," Swisher said.
Now in its ninth year, the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately after Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show and continues until 4 p.m. ET Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the United States is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, text message your choice to 1122. For example, text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555. Standard rates may apply.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and this week the final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote sponsored by Sprint on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB.com, MLB Network and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
The Yankees are already well-represented at the July 13 All-Star Game, with Girardi and his coaching staff joined by starters Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, as well as Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes and -- as he learned Monday -- Andy Pettitte, who replaces the injured Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox.
"I see all of these guys going, and I want to go, too," Swisher said. "I think it would mean so much extra now, because it's up to the fans. I think I've generated a pretty good rapport here with the fans of New York.
"There'd be nothing more that I'd want to do than represent them in the All-Star Game. I think it'd be amazing. I get excited about it, because I've never had this opportunity before. To be 29 and finally start to think things out, it'd be a blessing."
Swisher had two more hits Monday and is hitting .500 (4-for-8) with a walk and a run scored since being named a Final Vote candidate, so clearly the chase is not adding any pressure.
"I don't think it will be a distraction, as long as he's not texting MLB.com during the games," Girardi said. "So, keep voting for him."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less