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Know your Sweeneys
2008-02-11 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Wherever you look this offseason, somebody named Sweeney seems to be coming up. How do you keep them straight? I've prepared a guide you can print out and save for reference.

First of all, there's Mike Sweeney. He used to appear on baseball fields dressed like this:



But he's on Oakland now. Mike was born in Orange, California.


Mike is often confused with Mark Sweeney. The two men are not related and don't look particularly alike.



Mark looks to be close to a new deal with the Dodgers. Mark was born in Framingham, Massachusetts. Mike is righthanded. Mark is lefthanded. Neither of them play in the field much anymore. Or even bat much anymore.

Earlier this offseason, Oakland acquired another Sweeney, this one named Ryan. He came from the White Sox as part of the Nick Swisher deal.


Ryan is a lot younger than Mike or Mark. He's lefthanded, like Mark, but he will be playing with Mike, who is not lefthanded. Which means that Mike is righthanded. Which is one way to differentiate Mike from Mark. Although it would not help you differentiate Mark from Ryan. But you probably don't need as much help with those two, since it's Mike and Ryan who are on the same team.

Ryan will look more like Mark in a couple weeks because they will both be wearing green and gold. Ryan was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That is if Mark were playing for Oakland, which he isn't. Then Ryan should look like Mike. But neither Mark nor Mike nor Ryan may make the opening day rosters for anyone. So then you will just have to make do.

Ryan Sweeney should not be confused with Brian Sweeney, who pitched briefly for Seattle and San Diego and now pitches for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters:





Since Ryan and Brian don't play on the same continent anymore, you shouldn't be confusing these two guys. But we can't be too sure. Brian was born in Yonkers, New York. So there's Mike from Orange, Mark from Framingham, Ryan from Cedar Rapids, and Brian from Yonkers. They go respectively, right, left, left, right. And they play in Oakland, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Sapporo. Sapporo is just east of Oakland. Or west. It really depends upon how you define east or west based on the 180th meridian.

There were also three Oscar nominations for a movie about this guy:



This is Sweeney Todd, aka the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He's from London and his birth name wasn't even Sweeney Todd. He's not expected to be with either the Dodgers or Athletics in spring training. This picture leads me to believe that Sweeney is righthanded.

We also have actress Julia Sweeney.


She is not expected to be at spring training for any team this year. I am unsure if she is lefthanded or righthanded as the IMDB does not contain that info. She was born in Spokane. Nine major league baseball players have been born in Spokane, the most notable one being Ryne Sandberg. But also a player named Gary Martz was born in Spokane. He had one at bat in his major league career and it came for the Kansas City Royals on July 8, 1975. That was just about two years after Mike Sweeney, who has so far played his entire major league career for the Royals (until this year when he'll play for Oakland, like Ryan Sweeney) was born in Orange, Calfornia. Mike was born July 22, 1973.

Also, there is John Sweeney (pictured below), who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1997-2007 and represented a district in upstate New York, but it didn't include Yonkers, which is where Brian Sweeney was born. For a while, Sweeney's district included Orange County, New York, which might make you think of Mike Sweeney, who is from Orange, California, but of course, California and New York are different places. Just as Mike and John Sweeney are different people. John Sweeney lost his seat in the 2006 election. He is a Republican, but handedness and political affiliation don't always match up. John Sweeney was born in Troy, New York. Troy used to have major league baseball. However, those Troy teams never had a player named Sweeney on them.



2008-02-11 08:19:09
1.   Chyll Will
Hmm, not the same John Sweeney who flipped the script on a Scientology rep on BBC TV:

2008-02-11 08:37:39
2.   Shaun P
1 No, this is the John Sweeney who made headlines for appearing at a fraternity party at my alma mater in upstate NY:

He's been in the news for other far more newsworthy matters.

2008-02-11 08:59:54
3.   mehmattski
APENECK SWEENEY spreads his knees
Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
The zebra stripes along his jaw
Swelling to maculate giraffe.

The circles of the stormy moon
Slide westward toward the River Plate,
Death and the Raven drift above
And Sweeney guards the hornèd gate.

~TS Eliot "Sweeney among the Nightingales"

2008-02-11 09:13:42
4.   wireroom
Man, I always thought that Mike and Mark were brothers. Are you sure there isn't one more Sweeney out there who played or is playing? A brother of Mike maybe?
2008-02-11 09:16:48
5.   old dodger fan
Sapporo is just east of Oakland

Scenic route?

2008-02-11 09:19:11
6.   Bob Timmermann
It's so far west, it's east.
2008-02-11 09:34:37
7.   grandcosmo
Is that a picture of Mark Sweeney contemplating how many outs there are in the 9th inning?
2008-02-11 09:38:01
8.   Bob Timmermann
Indeed it is.
2008-02-11 09:50:20
9.   berkowit28
You wrote:

Ryan will look more like Mark in a couple weeks because they will both be wearing green and gold.

Quite sure about that?

2008-02-11 09:53:00
10.   Bob Timmermann
No one is sure of anything.
2008-02-11 10:05:14
11.   underdog
This post works even better if you picture the guy who used to narrate the introduction to "Soap" reading it.
2008-02-11 10:26:47
12.   For The Turnstiles
Thanks Bob, that cleared everything right up.
2008-02-11 10:29:38
13.   underdog
Wait, you forgot one. (Only die-hard Anglophiles will know of this one, though a remake is reportedly in the works.)
2008-02-11 12:04:27
14.   JL25and3
For a long time, I wasn't aware that Mark and Mike were different people. Eventually I became aware that one was a Royal and the other wasn't, but that's as far as I ever got.

Do you think they know which one they are?

2008-02-11 12:57:38
15.   Bob Timmermann
Do you think they know which one they are?

Do any of us know who we truly are?

2008-02-11 13:48:36
16.   JL25and3
15 Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care?
2008-02-11 15:50:08
17.   JL25and3
Btw, what is Dodger Mk Sweeney doing in that picture? The best I can make of it is that he's trying to get wax out of his ear, despite wearing a glove and helmet.
2008-02-11 16:52:52
18.   Sammy Maudlin
3 I'm certainly no poetry expert, but T.S. Eliot might have been refering to former Jets lineman Jim Sweeney.
2008-02-11 20:54:36
19.   110phil
Up until last year, I thought Sweeney Todd was just an old rock band.
2008-02-11 22:16:31
20.   berkowit28
9 My question was: why do you think Mark will be wearing green and gold if he's going to be a Dodger? It's Mike who will be wearing green and gold. I didn't think you were intentionally muddying the waters since the rest of the piece is accurate even where humorous, but I could be wrong, I suppose.
2008-02-11 22:53:23
21.   Bob Timmermann
Check the post again.
2008-02-12 10:04:49
22.   Cliff Corcoran
19 I remember seeing Sweeney Todd open for Steely Dan and Jethro Tull in the early '70s. I always wondered what happened to their oboe player. You just don't hear any good oboe-rock anymore, and his solos were razor sharp.

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