Swiatkiewicz is a Web designer by day and a pitcher by night
Former UMD Pitcher Chris Swiatkiewicz has pitched in Winnipeg before. But never as a Northern League all-star. That will change come Tuesday night. The one-time Bulldog standout was selected to represent the St. Paul Saints at the annual Northern...
Former UMD Pitcher Chris Swiatkiewicz has pitched in Winnipeg before. But never as a Northern League all-star. That will change come Tuesday night.
The one-time Bulldog standout was selected to represent the St. Paul Saints at the annual Northern League contest at CanWest Global Park on July 31. He leads the Saints in wins, starts, strikeouts, wild-pitches and innings pitched.
Despite all that, it sounds like he wouldn't mind being back in Duluth. "Yes, I do miss Duluth. I miss the town. Great atmosphere. But this just seems to be easier for me as of now," said the soon-to-be all-star. "Things could always change, and I may be back in Duluth at some point."
Swiatkiewicz is currently the Web page designer for milepoint.com. He's at the computer during the day and at the park at night.
But working two jobs is nothing knew for Swanny. During his senior year at UMD, he would pay his own way to Bulldog games because he was interning in the Twin Cities. He did that while with the Dukes a year ago as well.
The St. Paul Saints might be near last place in the league, but they are tops when it comes to attendance.
"Yeah, it feels good to get some recognition out of it, even if our team is struggling. I'm even struggling a little bit as of late," said the former Duluth-Superior Duke. He added, "But I had a good first part of the season, and now I get to go to the all-star game and meet some of the better players in the league and get to know them."
This is his third season in the Northern League, and he paid compliments to the Dukes fans. "It's a great atmosphere here. The fans are good. We pack it in every night, but the Dukes seem to have some loyal fans, which is kind of harder to find down here in St. Paul."
Losing is not what the Saints are used to doing. "We had a great spring and things couldn't go wrong for us. We were scoring lots of runs, and just got caught off-guard and seems like we can't get a break," said Swiatkiewicz.
He was traded to St. Paul by the Dukes on March 20 for outfielder Eddie Gerald.
During the 1999 season, the Dukes sold him to the New York Yankees organization where he pitched in 17 games at the rookie and A ball level. Among some of his stops, Staten Island and Tampa. He wouldn't mind going back to affiliated baseball again someday, "I'm happy right now playing in this league. We got some real good competition, but you always have that itch to see how far you can go."
He hopes that Tuesday's game will open some scouts' eyes. "I'm going to try and showcase my skills for the scouts that will be there, and hopefully somebody takes a look and comes talk to me."
Until then, it's computer screen by day and Midway Stadium by night.
By the way, the 2001 Dukes will be represented by pitcher Dan Guehne. The 29 year-old as of Tuesday led the team in appearances and ERA. He played in Winnipeg from 1996-2000.
Former Dukes manager Benny Castillo will coach the Central team at the Tuesday all-star game.
Tom Hansen is sports director of KBJR-TV News 6.