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Mike Sweeney: Good guy. But aren't we all when things go well?

Oct 1, 2010, 4:56 PM EDT

There’s a story in today’s Delco Times about Mike Sweeney. About how great a guy he is. About how he adds so much to the Phillies’ team chemistry and has made the clubhouse a happier, friendlier place to be. Because of him, they’re “the feel-good Phillies.”

No mention whatsoever, though, of the fact that back in May Sweeney was challenging his teammates to fights and browbeating and intimidating reporters who said negative things about his team as the Mariners disintegrated scarcely a month into the season.

My point is not that Sweeney is not a nice guy and a good person — by all accounts he is. It’s that it’s a hell of a lot easier to be a great and friendly teammate when you’re winning (like Sweeney’s Phillies are) than it is when you’re losing (like Sweeney’s Mariners were).

We should try to keep that in mind whenever we see feel good (or feel bad) stories about ballplayers.  They’re human just like the rest of us, and these stories tell us less about their subjects than they do about their subject’s circumstances.

  1. smokehouse - Oct 2, 2010 at 7:48 AM

    The whole point of this column is about agitating. This is what poor sportswriters do best. Ted Williams had to put up with this bull crap his entire career in Boston. Same with Mantle in New York. Same with Schmidt in Philly. Craig Calcaterra has an axe to grind with Sweeney. If faced with who I want in my foxhole at the Battle of the Bulge, I’ll take Sweeney over Craig Calcaterra every time. This kind of “hit piece” can only be published by writers who have nothing better to do or are looking to be part of the club. Craig Calcaterra will deny this but what he did was not real journalism. It is 2010 in your face journalism. It’s the kind of writing I tend to ignore.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 2, 2010 at 7:59 AM

    Ignoring it: you’re doing it wrong.
    Foxholes: Whatever, Sgt. Smokehouse.

  3. The Baseball Idiot - Oct 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    That’s a completely insane analogy. Take it from someone who’s been in a foxhole, you can’t make an assumption about that regarding people you’ve never even met.
    Besides, Sweeney would be off selling war bonds or something, and getting his picture in the paper.
    I’ll take Craig in the foxhole with me, because if he found a case of wine and some Belgium girls lost in a farmhouse, he would share. Sweeney would just pray at you.

  4. matt - Oct 2, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    wow. when I first read craig’s comments I was ready to jump to the link he provided and read some in-depth story of a guy with a bad side. Craig’s premise was based on the Ken Griffey incident?? That’s what this is all about? Wow. Craig, I get what your saying about him calling a reporter a lie and all, but come on. This story about a one or two day dustup when Ken Griffey was accused of sleeping motivated you to write this piece so long after? I kept looking at the linked article trying to find this smoking gun that was the basis for Craigs point. This is the foundation for your point that sometimes a guy may be only happy or a good guy under the best of circumstances? Yikes. There has to be better and more important things to blog about going into the playoffs other than a piece on a guy that likely see less than 5 at-bats in the post-season.

  5. mike wants wins - Oct 2, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    I’m with Craig, by definition if you threaten people with violence for saying something, you are not acting like a good person at all.

  6. Mr.OrangePants - Oct 2, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Seems like he was sticking up for his colleagues & the unflattering portrayal by the media. Seems like you’re doing something similar here. I’m confused by the point of the article. Is it that even good people sometimes make mistakes? Quite a revelation. Rather simplistic, isn’t it? I think you wanted to post something negative about a guy who you perceived to have given a fellow journalist a hard time. This was a good opportunity for you to do it, since Sweeney’s has reached a high point in his career, finally reaching the post season. An article/blog/whatever like this only makes the public more sceptical of the media since they too are humans who all have an angle as well. The prior posts referencing previous articles you’ve written show you’ve had a bias against him because of that incident. Congrats – you got Sweeney back for screwing a “journalist” who wanted to write negative stories about Griffey.

  7. Akshun - Oct 3, 2010 at 1:36 AM

    blah, blah, blah.. blah blah blah blah.. blah
    is what this story is and what the comments from your readers are saying..
    really all this over a guy who is riding the bench?? and i’m a Phils fan..
    but ill throw my 2 cents in for the hell of it.. nobody’s perfect and don’t teach you kids to look up to most athletes as role models, they arn’t and they don’t care (ex: Charles Barkley)

  8. BC - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    Bobby Cox is a grade-A, number one bleephole. And no, I’m not saying that because I’m a Mets fan. The guy is the most foul-mouthed jerk ever to manage in the majors (OK, maybe he’s third behind Earl Weaver and Dallas Green). He’s not a good person. And yet the media and everyone else are portraying him as this loveable old guy who’s won a bajillion games and everyone should love him. Goes to show you that perception becomes reality.

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