After Nick Swisher finished batting practice before Monday’s home Opener against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field, he stood by the Indians dugout railing chatting with some special guests while the Tribe’s final group of hitters were taking their cuts.
No, the outgoing Indians first baseman wasn’t chatting up his former New York Yankees teammates who were stretching on the other side of the field.
Instead, he spent some quality time with two Ohio State pals – Buckeyes head baseball coach Greg Beals and Pat Chun, a former longtime OSU athletics department employee now serving as the athletic director at Florida Atlantic University.
“When I got the job at Ohio State, Nick was the first guy I had in mind to promote my vision of Ohio State baseball moving forward,” Beals said. “I wanted the players that were in our program, the players we were going to recruit to know that dreams do come true. You can come to Ohio State, you can play here in Ohio and you can make it to the big leagues. Nick exemplified what I wanted our program to embody moving forward.”
Moved by Beals’ thoughts, Swisher donated $500,000 to OSU in the off-season to aid the installation of a new turf field. In return, the Buckeyes honored him by dedicating the field to him – now officially called Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.
Being on the field pre game with Swisher had to mean a lot to Chun, who spent three years traveling with the OSU baseball team while serving as the sports information director when Swisher played.
“Nick asked Greg, ‘What can I do to help?’,” Beals said. “Greg’s top priority was a turf field. Nick has got a giving soul. You have no idea; people in the community are going to love him.”
Chun, who grew up in Cleveland, added: “It’s going to be weird seeing all these kids running around (the stadium) wearing No. 33 Swishers. “He’s fired up every day to be alive.”