MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- This is the face of someone who has spent 16 seasons in the majors without ever experiencing a pennant race: Mike Sweeney, racing around the visitors' clubhouse at Sun Life Stadium to hug his new teammates.
They joked during pregame stretches. The 37-year-old first baseman, well past his prime and well aware of it, grateful for every moment, however big or small a role he may play.
"It's a dream come true," Sweeney said.
The closest Sweeney has ever come to the postseason was 2003 when the Royals were in first place in the American League Central as late as Aug. 29. When he was acquired in a trade Wednesday with Seattle, Sweeney was immediately thrown into the playoff race. It's the best chance he's ever had.
Here is some of Sweeney's chat with writers today:
What is this like?
"It's a dream come true. It's my 20th season professionally and 16th in the big leagues, so to get a chance to come and fight for a chance to go to the playoffs for the first time in my career is something I've dreamed about and worked my butt off toward. To get the opportunity to be a small piece of an already great puzzle is a joy."
Did you have a feeling a trade was coming?
"I knew the clock was ticking in Seattle because I was healthy for the last month. The day the put me on the DL I was ready to play. I spent about 30 more days just biding time. I really didn't know what was going to happen. I knew that I had a great peace about it. So I went down to my rehab assignment and worked hard."
Was that tough?
"Those things happen in baseball. I would never complain about it. That's the hand I was dealt. "
What did you hear about Philly?
"Speaking with Cliff Lee about his experience here last year, he said it was the most fun he ever had. Great teammates, great clubhouse."
Can you play first base regularly?
"I played some at first base pretty consistently before I went on the DL. Whatever Charlie asks me to do, I'll do it."