Nick Swisher was confused.
The New York Yankees right fielder had just hit into a double play to end the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins on Monday, and the fans at Yankee Stadium were giving him a standing ovation. Usually, an at-bat such as the one Swisher just had would be roundly booed.
“At first, I thought, ‘These fans are crazy,’ ” Swisher said. “Then I looked at right field, and I understood. I said, ‘Oh my God, these fans are into it.’ “
He heard the strains of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and saw the scoreboard that read, “Yankees 6, Twins 4.” Mariano Rivera was coming in, and when he retired the Twins in order, he became the major leagues’ career saves leader with 602, surpassing Trevor Hoffman.
By hitting into the double play, Swisher preserved the save situation and a chance to be part of history. Had he come through and driven in two runs and upped the advantage to four, Rivera would have stayed in the bullpen. Instead, Swisher became an unwitting yet important footnote to the momentous occasion in the Bronx.
“I didn’t think I’d ever hear the day where people would cheer for us to make outs,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
■ FRIENDLY FIRE — Ryan Brown works for the New York Giants as a video intern, which means technically he’s supposed to be on the same side as Michael Boley.
But Brown was in the wrong place at the wrong time Monday night when the Giants linebacker returned a muffed lateral 65 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter against St. Louis. Boley decided to celebrate by firing the football at the wall behind the end zone.
Problem was, Brown was standing by the wall, and the football caught him flush in the face.
After the game, Boley found out what he had done and sought Brown out to apologize. Brown was a little shaken up, but he’s reportedly OK.
Next time Boley finds the end zone, how about just handing the ball to the official? That way no one gets hurt.
■ BCS MUSICAL CHAIRS — Could Texas Christian be coming back to the Mountain West Conference?
With the Big East beginning to disintegrate following Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving to join the Atlantic Coast Conference on Monday, the Horned Frogs might have to abandon their plans to join a league that might no longer exist next year.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson is looking into the possibility of TCU remaining in the MWC as he waits to see what happens with the Big East, Big 12, Pacific-12 and Conference USA. There have been discussions with C-USA about a merger with the MWC in the hopes of replacing the Big East as a Bowl Championship Series conference automatic qualifier.
“This is a giant game of musical chairs to see where the music stops,” Thompson told ESPN.com. “We’re talking to Big 12 and Big East schools. Everybody is burning up the phone lines. It’s all-consuming.”
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL