Brian Anderson sucked. Everybody knew it. He knew it.
In fact, in 2004, all of the Royals sucked. But Anderson’s struggles stood out. He started on opening day, giving up 5 runs in 5 innings. The Royals came back in dramatic fashion to win the game, but only after Anderson had exited the game.
But unlike Darrell May, Brian Anderson stood up and admitted to everybody that he was struggling. (May, on the other hand, explained that he was only a pitcher and his teammates still had to score for the team to win. Enjoy San Diego Darrell).
In a front page story in the Pitch last summer, Anderson admitted his struggles. He took full responsibility for his lousy performance and acknowledged that he was letting the fans and his teammates down.
But the story wasn’t complete. In this story on kcroyals.com, Dick Kaegel explains what may have also contributed to Anderson’s struggles.
"Anna Anderson became seriously ill last May, following a surgical procedure, and she was hospitalized just in time. She might have died."
Anderson’s wife was seriously ill, pregnant, and close to death. Through it all, Anderson continued to go out to the mound. He never mentioned his off-field problems. He never blamed his performance on his wife’s illness. In fact, he still doesn’t.
"Even mentioning it now is a little bit uneasy because even in telling the story, it could be misconstrued as, well, he's throwing out excuses now," he said.
"That's not the case. I was bad. I was bad for a lot of reasons and if my wife was in perfect health and everything was going completely smoothly, I still would have been bad."
The good news is that Anna is now well, and the Anderson’s welcomed their daughter Rylann Mae on February 7.
And new Royals’ pitching coach Guy Hansen has reworked Anderson’s delivery. When Guy met Anderson in Surprise, AZ last week, he said "I don’t see how you got any outs last year." Hansen says he saw a very obvious flaw in Anderson’s delivery and they have worked it into a new, more "athletic" delivery that hides the ball better. General Manager Allard Baird has assured Anderson a spot in the rotation, and Anderson is excited to return to his previous form.
Royals fans are too.
Tip of the Royals cap to Kevin's Royals Blog.