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March 25, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Mike Sweeney goes out the way he wanted

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One year ago, Mike Sweeney wasn’t ready to retire. He thought he might have one more season left in him and surprised everyone by making the Mariners roster out of spring training.
He was later traded to the Philadelphia Phillies and got to taste the post-season for the first time. When I spoke to him a couple of months back, he told me he was waiting to see if any decent offers came in and would decide based on that what to do next.
What Sweeney really wanted was to stay as close as he could to his family in Southern California. The M’s were a good compromise in that regard, allowing him to stay a quick flight away and play in the AL West, where even road games would be close to home.
But Sweeney appeared to leave everything he had on the field last year. In the end, it wasn’t going to be enough to generate the kind of offers that would prompt him to leave the family behind and grind through spring training as a longshot once again.
That longshot bid came through a year ago. They usually don’t happen twice.
And so, today, Sweeney signed a one-day minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals and promptly retired as a member of the team he spent the bulk of his career with. He’ll be remembered throughout baseball as one of its good guys. He certainly made an impact in the Mariners’ clubhouse in 2009 and for a time last year was the best hitter the club had.
Sweeney lasted 17 years in the bigs. Now, he gets to enjoy the fruits of his labors. We wish him only the best. Because that’s what he would have wished for all of us.

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