Ah, to be young, well-paid and a Yankee.
That's what Nick Swisher is.
You could almost say that he has, pardon the cliche, the world by the proverbial tail. Heck, he's reportedly dating, according to People magazine, actress Joanna Garcia.
Swisher will be celebrating his 29th birthday later this month.
In some ways, it'll be party time all this Thanksgiving November for the former Parkersburg Big Reds baseball player and current member of the World Series champion New York Yankees.
While Swisher struggled in the WS, hitting .133 with one homer and one double in five game appearances, he had a solid overall regular season in 2009, batting .249 with 29 home runs and 82 RBIs.
An argument could be made that the first-year Yankee might have been one of the missing pieces in the Bronx Bombers puzzle. Before he arrived from the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees had not claimed a World Series since 2000.
What Swisher brought to the New York table was an intangible. An extrovert, he reportedly kept everybody in the clubhouse and on the bench loose and laughing.
In the serious business of New York Yankees baseball, Swisher made things fun.
But then, he's always been a fun-loving guy.
Long ago, when I first introduced myself to Swisher at Bennett Stump Field in City Park, he was a starting freshman first baseman, and he had this big grin on his face. He was pretty skinny then and hadn't yet filled out his body - but even so you just knew he was a player.
Over time, Swisher, in my mind, became the best high school and American Legion (Parkersburg Post 15) baseball player I ever saw on the diamond. He could do it all, hit, hit for power, run, play defense - and even pitch (but not very often).
Yes, Swisher once pitched in a game for the Big Reds. He didn't have a whole lot of velocity on his fastball, but he threw strikes.
Interestingly, last April, in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the southpaw-throwing Swisher hurled one inning in relief, allowing one hit and one walk before retiring the next three batters in a row in a 15-5 Yankee loss.
Swisher's dad, Steve, I understand, was a pretty fair country prep ballplayer himself (at Parkersburg South), but I never had the pleasure of seeing the elder Swisher play.
Ironically, while the younger Swisher is now the proud owner of a World Series championship ring, he was never a member of a state championship team at Parkersburg High. He came close, though, a couple of times - in both baseball and football.
When Swisher was a freshman, he and the Big Reds advanced to the baseball state tournament at Watt Powell Park in Charleston, where they bowed out.
And, then later, when he was a senior, he was unable to play due to a broken arm in the state title football game, which PHS lost, at Wheeling Island.
Incidentally, Swisher's younger brother, Mark, a star linebacker at PHS and later at Fairmont State University, does have a Big Reds football state championship ring.
Upon graduation from PHS, Swisher was on the fast track to the big leagues, starring at Ohio State, getting drafted by the Oakland A's, and then playing in the minors for three summers. He was even one of the subjects in a widely-read baseball book, "Moneyball."
Late in the 2004 season, Swisher was promoted to Oakland, and he's been in the major leagues ever since.
Whenever Swisher has visited the Cleveland Indians ballpark, he's always made time to be with the many friends he has in the Mid-Ohio Valley, and sign endless autographs for the fans - always with a big smile on his face.
Not surprisingly, he's also very media friendly.
He's definitely one person in this world who truly loves his job.
When Swisher was traded by the White Sox to the Yankees after the 2008 season, he considered himself a very fortunate man.
He was, but then so were the Yankees.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org