Curry’s Mike Sweeney Hits a Home Run with the Royal Lancers
It was the early 1990’s and Mike Sweeney, Curry’s senior vice president in the commercial real estate division, was a young agent at a local real estate firm when he asked his older coworker, a Royals Lancer, if he could get involved in the Lancer program. Sweeney, a self-described “crazy Royals fan,” wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity. He promptly interviewed and became a Lancer in 1994, and he hasn’t looked back in 21 years.
What does a Lancer entail? Royal Lancers “act as goodwill ambassadors and sell season tickets on behalf of the team,” said Sweeney. The group was established in the early 1970s when Ewing Kauffman decided he could generate more support for the team by recruiting business and community people to sell season tickets.
Selling tickets is a little easier these days, but there were many years when it wasn’t. “It was very hard,” said Sweeney. “We all had been selling to corporations and individuals and both stopped renewing. Luckily there were some who still had community pride, and then there were the die-hard baseball fans. Through the down years we definitely sold more splits (partial season tickets).”
So why did he subject himself to such hard work all those years? Well, besides being a diehard fan and being with a great group of friends there are perks. “If you make your quota, you and your spouse get to attend spring training, which is a tremendous experience,” said Sweeney. There are also many other benefits throughout the year.”
And then there’s the “crazy” Sweeney loves his baseball. Historically, he has attended between 30 and 40 games a season through losing and winning years. His favorite current player is Lorenzo Cain because he “plays like he’s giving 100 percent all of the time.” His favorite past players are Willie Wilson, for the same reason as Cain, and Zack Greinke, former pitcher. When asked his favorite game of all time, there was no hesitation. “Definitely last year’s wild card game,” he said. “That even topped game seven of the ’85 World Series for me.”
Over the years, Sweeney has amassed quite a collection of wonderful memories with the Lancers. When Mr. Kauffman passed away and left $1 million for the group to take a Mediterranean cruise, Sweeney was able to go on what he called “the trip of a lifetime.”And last season the Lancers were invited to Major League Baseball’s World Series Gala, at Kaufman Stadium, an event that is held each year in the city hosting the first game of the series. Sweeney and his fellow Lancers got to go on the field and rub elbows with past players, the Royals ownership and Major League Baseball personnel.
“Being a Royal Lancer has been one of the best things I’ve ever done,” said Sweeney. “To be able to support the team, this city and the game of baseball is an honor for me.”