In the Nick of Time

One of my biggest regrets in life, ranked just below “attempting to rig the eighth-grade Class President election” and “only seeing Talladega Nights in theaters twice,”  is that I’ve never had a totally random encounter with a famous person. I’ve run into tennis players at tournaments, and baseball players in ballparks, but that’s nothing to write home about. It’s like seeing a lion at the zoo, only with less potential for maulings.

Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve checked one of those items off my list, and doing so did not involve the impeccable comedic chemistry of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. In the early morning of Wednesday, November 6, on the not-so-mean streets of southeastern Washington DC, I saw Nick Swisher in a Courtyard Marriott.

I instantly recognized his always-happy face and his angular black sideburns. He was in the lobby, standing in a circle with a family of three or four of his fans, who seemed as surprised to see him there as I was. Questions raced through my mind: what is he doing in DC? He’s under contract for at least two more years, so he’s not negotiating with the Nationals. Did he have the Morning Scramble or the Egg White Frittata for breakfast? How do you spell “frittata”? Can’t someone who made $15 million this year stay in a nicer hotel, where the elevators are made of gold and the housekeepers leave Rolexes on your pillow?

Before I had the chance to ask Nick Swisher any of these questions, I turned around and saw that he was gone, presumably on his way to the Comfort Inn in Des Moines, Iowa. So, instead of asking Nick Swisher, I asked Nick Swisher’s Twitter. It told me he was doing this:


Swisher received the Bob Feller Act of Valor award for demonstrating his support of US military troops, in part through a tour of over a dozen military bases in Afghanistan. Good for him! Though I would’ve toured EVEN MORE Afghani bases, had anyone bothered to ask me.

So, I guess you could say my story is kind of lame, since it doesn’t end with any autographs or photo-ops or bits of wisdom on how to hit a curveball. But it was still nice to see a pro athlete in town for  reasons other than a court date or a grand-jury trial. If the Nationals find themselves in need of a first baseman in a few years, it would be cool to see him come to town again. I’m sure he misses the Courtyard already.