It's been a long time - seven years - since Swisher had been involved in baseball, but he returned last winter when he was introduced as Reading's manager. The move caught some by surprise, mainly because of who was taking over the reins. Swisher wasn't on the top of many people's minds to return to managing, but yet here he is.
"This is a good situation to come into," said Swisher about his new job. "The key is that it's an opportunity that I'm ready for and prepared for." It's also a situation that Swisher is somewhat familiar with since he spent his post playing days as a minor league manager and major league bullpen coach. Swisher started managing in the Indians organization in 1985, taking over their Low-A club. The next season he won a Midwest League Championship, moved to managing at AA in '87 and before that season was over, was leading the Indians AAA club in Buffalo. "Sometimes, I think things happened too quickly. Looking back, it was fun and it was exciting, but there were some things that I wasn't prepared for," said Swisher.
While Swisher isn't new to managing, he is playing another role that is new to him. His son Nick is a budding superstar with the Oakland A's. "I'm excited for him," said Swisher. "He's got a lot of talent and I'm proud of how hard he's worked to get to where he is. I think I'm more excited hearing him talk about his career than I was when I made it to the majors," beams the proud papa.
One thing is sure about Swisher. He wants a team effort. He doesn't talk much about individual players, choosing instead to talk about his team. He talks about how everybody needs to play hard. How he has a number of good players, all able to help Reading have a successful season. Effort isn't something that he just expects from his players, it's something that he will demand from them. "You won't get anywhere without effort. Even if you are a great player, if the effort isn't there, then you've failed because you could have done more," believes Swisher.
Rest assured that the duties of managing will all come back to Swisher. They'll be combined with a greater appreciation for the game and a wisdom that comes from both years in the game and years away from the game. Swisher won't rest on any laurels and he won't take this opportunity for anything more than what it is - a return to the game that he loves. "Being a major league manager isn't an issue for me right now. I'm simply looking to do whatever I can for this organization and the players that they've given to me."