Champagne dreams for newest Phillies

It appeared to be another lost season for Mike Sweeney. The affable first baseman seemed to be on his way to a last place finish with the Mariners.

But Sweeney’s fortunes changed drastically in early August. The former All-Star was dealt to the Phillies after Ryan Howard sprained his ankle.

“It was just amazing to find out that I was going to the Phillies,” Sweeney said. “I was thrilled to find out that I was going to a team that always has a chance to get to the playoffs.”

Sweeney, 37, filled in for Howard when he was on the DL, and he drove in seven runs. With Howard healthy, Sweeney returned to the bench.

“It’s alright,” Sweeney said. “I don’t mind. I just want to help the team win a World Series. I want to feel the champagne.”

The closest Sweeney came to championship bubbly [before he helped the Phillies clinch the NL East on Monday] was in high school, when he was doused in apple cider.

“Young players should realize that it’s no given that you’ll play in the playoffs,” Sweeney said. “I’m living proof. You look around this clubhouse … Brian Schneider and Roy Halladay haven’t been there yet, either.”

Halladay and Schneider sought out the Phillies in the offseason. The former arrived by trade and the latter by free agency.

“The winning culture was too appealing to pass up,” Schneider said. “Part of the reason I wanted to come here was to get in the playoffs and have a chance to win it all.”

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