I know I've kind of already written this before, but it deserves to be said again, and expanded upon a little bit.
In Mike Sweeney, we have a man drafted in the 10th round by the back in 1991, when the Royals were but a year and a half removed from a 92-win season. Sweeney was selected in between two players who never made it, and the odds were against him from the beginning.
In Mike Sweeney, we have a man who batted .324 with more than a hundred home runs between 1999-2002, a span during which the Royals lost 379 games. Sweeney was the identity, the beloved MVP of an otherwise terrible franchise, and he had nary a bad thing to say despite the hopelessness around him.
In Mike Sweeney, we have a man who missed more than 40% of the Royals' games between 2003-2007, a man who took more and more shots from more and more fans who felt he wasn't earning his $55 million, five-year contract. A man whose body wouldn't let him perform at the same level and frequency as he had in his peak.
In Mike Sweeney, we have a man who found himself outside of the Royals' organization for the first time in his career in 2008. Injuries caused him to miss more action than he ever had before, and the year ended with Sweeney wondering whether he'd given all he had to give.
In Mike Sweeney, we have a man who not once, but twice showed up atcamp as a non-roster invitee given no chance of making the team. Both times, he made the team, and both times, he was among its best hitters while pouring his heart into everything he did both on and off the field.
In Mike Sweeney, we have a man who was working on one of the longest streaks in baseball of games played without a playoff appearance. So in Mike Sweeney, we have a man who was traded by the Mariners to thein August 2010 in an attempt to get him into October as a bat off the bench.
In Mike Sweeney, we have a man who played his final Major League game on October 8, 2010. It was Game 2 of the NLDS, and Sweeney's first and last-ever appearance in the playoffs. He pinch-hit for Jose Contreras in the seventh inning, worked a 2-0 count against Aroldis Chapman, and lined a single to left.
In Mike Sweeney, we don't have a man who ever won his championship. In Mike Sweeney, we don't have a man able to play up to the expectations he set so early on. But in Mike Sweeney, we have a man who was one of the great baseball people, and a man who lived one of the great baseball stories.
Have a wonderful time, Mike, doing whatever you do.