Brian Sweeney To Observe Pile From Safe Distance

Memories

It's Friday night. You and your partner have plans. You've been looking forward to them because you've both had really bad weeks and this'll be a chance to unwind. She's done getting ready and you're just about to shut down the computer when you see that Lookout Landing just put up a new post. "One minute, one minute" you say and you click through, only to find that it's a post about Brian Sweeney signing a minor league contract, and not even signing a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. A minor league contract, just. You get upset with yourself. You get upset with me. You miss your reservation. The night is ruined. You get upset with Brian Sweeney. "How could you do this to us, Brian Sweeney!"

That's 131 words right there. I'm squeezing some juice out of this old, dry lemon. That way we can have pure, unsweetened lemon juice. Perfect for waking up the tongue or getting out stains.

So anyway, this comes courtesy of Greg Johns. Minor league contract, no invite. I don't know why he didn't get an invite, but it's not like he would've made the team anyway so this way he gets a head start on minor league camp. I'm guessing that, unlike a lot of minor league contracts with invites, this one doesn't include an opt-out date. Sweeney knows damn well he's going to Tacoma. He knows damn well that's where he's spending his season. He's okay with that. Maybe he's eager for that.

I should say that Sweeney's going back to Tacoma because he was there in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2010. In case you've forgotten about Brian Sweeney, who got some time with the Mariners in 2010, he's 37 years old. He was born in the same month as Doug Mientkiewicz and Derek Jeter. He's accomplished a little bit less than them. In his baseball career, anyway. He might really like it in Tacoma. He might have a lot of friends there. He spent most of last year in Buffalo so he's probably most happy to just not be there.

I'm still writing about Brian Sweeney. This post is going on its fifth paragraph. Like hell am I stopping now. He's the rare righty with a sub-90 fastball. Lots of breaking balls and changeups from this guy. Makes him tricky for lesser-developed hitters. Not so tricky for more developed hitters. About that time with the Mariners in 2010 - in Sweeney's first 7.2 innings, he had seven strikeouts. In his last 29.1 innings, he had seven strikeouts.

So he's not a big league weapon. He's a triple-A guy, and he's pretty good there, and he might well be happy there. Jack Zduriencik has talked about the importance of having veterans in the Majors to serve as mentors to youth. There's no reason to think he's wrong, and it stands to reason that there's also value in having veterans in the minors to serve as mentors to youth. Brian Sweeney's not a prospect, but maybe he can help prospects. Maybe he can help a guy with his changeup. Maybe he can help a guy with his preparation. Who knows what Brian Sweeney could do?

Sweeney's put in a lot of time with Tacoma, but this'll be his first visit to Cheney Stadium since it was renovated. All right, it looks better! Also it's more hitter-friendly. Godspeed!

Still writing. Okay. In Sweeney's Major League debut, back in 2003, he pitched in relief of Joel Pineiro. The first batter he faced was Damian Jackson. His first strikeout victim was Todd Walker. Remember when the Red Sox had Damian Jackson and Todd Walker? And Gabe Kapler and Scott Williamson? For additional reference, their top prospect before the season started was Hanley Ramirez. He was followed by Kelly Shoppach.

Incidentally, Sweeney wasn't drafted. As a 22-year-old he pitched for Lafayette of the Heartland League. He was signed by the Mariners in September 1996. He's the only player from that Lafayette team to reach the bigs. The scout that first noticed him and was responsible for bringing him into the organization? A certain Northeast area scout by the name of Tom McNamara. I knew if I kept writing I'd get to something good. McNamara saw something in Sweeney more than 15 years ago, and McNamara's probably the reason that Sweeney's back now.

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