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April 2, 2002

Analyze This

Light Breaks Through

Overnight, the Royals have gone from a franchise that was one transaction away from official joke status to a team that is slowly, haltingly--but finally--headed in the right direction.

Everything has changed. Pessimism has turned to optimism. Dread has been replaced by hope. Overnight, the Royals have gone from a franchise that was one transaction away from official joke status to a team that is slowly, haltingly--but finally--headed in the right direction.

Mike Sweeney is not, by himself, going to save this franchise. Locking him up for five more years no more guarantees a turnaround than having him on the team the past five years prevented the Royals from perennial last-place finishes. But for the first time in years, the Royals have a foundation. They have a face. They can point to Mike Sweeney and say, "our best player has bought into our future." They did it for far less than anyone thought. Instead of the $12-$15 million a season that everyone figured it would take to land Sweeney, the Royals got his John Hancock for five years, $55 million, or what we Wichitans like to call "Darren Dreifort money."

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