Given my predilection to blame the woes of the Royals on el capitan Mike Sweeney, its hard to believe I hadn't considered the correlation earlier. But as the evil St. Louisan stood on the edge of victory in our wager, he pointed out that it seemed to him that the Royals' swan dive at the end of the season seemed to coincide with the return of the perpetually injured one.
Good looking out ESL, you were right on. Sweeney played with the team from opening day until June 17 before going down to injury. He made his triumphant return to break up a Twins no-hitter on August 31. Records for each portion of the Royals season follow:
April 2 - June 17: 28-42
June 18 - August 31*: 32-31
August 31* - September 25: 8-16
Total Winning Percentage With Sweeney: .383
Total Sans Sweeney: .508
*The best part is that on August 31, the Royals played a double-header. Sweeney did not play in the first game, which the Royals won. He returned for the second game, and the Royals were shut out.