Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Nick Swisher Met Your Mother

I can't even imagine what Nick Swisher's offseason has been like.

There's literally nothing you can say that would surprise me about his last three months.

Swisher drank 50 Mountain Dews and swam the English Channel in 20 minutes? Sure. Swisher recorded a chart-topping charity single about snow leopards with Chumbawumba? Plausible. Swisher constructed a human conveyor belt that allowed him to nail every model/actress in Manhattan? Makes sense to me.

Everything's on the table right now. He is a man with free reign on the greatest city in the world.

The Nick Swisher Life Victory Tour made an interesting stop on Monday, rolling into the CBS prime time lineup for a guest spot on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

I've never been a HIMYM guy. I mean, I get why people like it. It's very funny at times, its sensibilities appeal to my demographic, and Neil Patrick Harris is unquestionably the greatest gay actor to play a serial womanizer since...well, ever. It's certainly better than most sitcoms out there right now, though that's really more an indictment of the genre than anything else.

But you don't care about that. We're not here to figure out if HIMYM is Generation Y's answer to Friends (which it's not). You just want to know if the creator of the Swish Salute has stumbled upon a second career in Hollywood.

Well...let's put it this way: If Hulk Hogan in No Holds Barred represents the worst acting put to celluloid by a professional athlete, and Carl Weathers' turn as Apollo Creed in Rocky takes top honors, Nick Swisher would probably fall exactly in the middle. He would finish ahead of Shaq in Kazaam! and behind Brian Bosworth in Stone Cold.

The Cliff's Notes storyline: Barney (Doogie Howser, MD) is attempting to achieve the perfect week of creeping—seven days, seven women, seven conquests. When Swisher happens upon the gang's local bar, he becomes Barney's greatest hurdle for perfection.

"That's Nick Swisher. He's a New York Yankee," The Guy From Forgetting Sarah Marshall explains. "No normal guy in New York City can compete with a Yankee."

I won't ruin the ending for you (watch the full episode here), but I will say that Swisher clocks in at about 50 seconds of screen time (watch Swisher's scene here). They used a one-shot for both of his main dialogue contributions, which leads me to believe multiple takes were necessary. He nervously munches from a snack bowl during his scene, which gets kind of funny after a while.

Swish didn't embarrass himself, but his agent won't likely be bombarded by film offers either. I give him a solid "B," graded on a steep curve created by Howie Long and Dan Marino.

Of course, this isn't the first time the Yankees have shown up in prime time. The team was famously part of a major story arc in the fifth through eighth seasons of Seinfeld, after George Costanza landed a job as assistant to the traveling secretary with the organization.

You may remember George giving unsolicited batting tips to Bernie Williams and a youuuuung Derek Jeter (Bernie calls out George for putting the team up in a Ramada). Also memorable was Paul O'Neill's annoyed clubhouse interaction with Kramer ("You promised a kid in the hospital I'd hit two home runs?"). The immortal Danny Tartabull and Buck Showalter also made cameos in the series.

Swisher's HIMYM appearance was more in the standard vein of jock sitcom cameos. Athlete X shows up, utters a couple lines of stilted dialogue, and then disappears forever. Swisher's turn reminded me of those old Cheers episodes where guys like Kevin McHale and Wade Boggs would randomly pop up. I always loved that.

Swisher was on a tweeting tear in the hour before HIMYM aired. I can picture him kicked back on his couch with a cold beer, watching himself and soaking up the awesomeness that every day has become.

This is Swish's world—we're just living in it.

Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached via e-mail at dhanzus@gmail.com. Follow Dan on Twitter at danhanzus .

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