Since the Major League Baseball debut of Fort Lauderdale native Anthony Swarzak, Southport Raw Bar has turned into the best place in South Florida to watch a Minnesota Twins game. At least on every fifth day.
On days when Swarzak starts, as he did Wednesday, a banner out front welcomes a pack of newly converted Twins fans. Inside, Southport server Leslie Selinos is an anxious, beaming presence. She's Swarzak's mom.
On Wednesday night -- her son's third start -- Selinos was joined by a pack of hometown friends. "Southport people have followed him from everywhere," said Selinos, starting from his days as a star pitcher at Nova High School in Davie. Then continuing after he was picked in the second round of the 2004 draft, through five years of the Twins' farm system -- from the Fort Myers Miracles to Rochester Red Wings, before Swarzak was finally called up May 23.
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At Southport, every Swarzak strikeout draws a burst of cheers. Every base hit by the opposing team is scorned.
Unfortunately, there was more of the latter on Wednesday night, when the 23-year-old gave up six runs in four innings as his team lost to the Cleveland Indians.
But for a big-league rookie, it tends to take a while to get comfortable. And if Swarzak can recapture the form he had during his sparkling debut, when he tossed seven shutout innings (video here), he'll be on the way to a long and lucrative career. After the jump, Swarzak's team congratulates him on his first career victory by giving his face a pie.