Failed Comeback: It's Been Real, Brian Anderson

Nino CollaSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2008

I'm a guy obsessed with lesser known players; I root for the little guy and probably give them too much hype to make up for the hype they don't get.

I've got a strange attachment to now Padres outfielder Jody Gerut, who I grew to enjoy watching during his days with the Indians.

Today, I drool over Franklin Gutierrez and Ryan Garko.

Just don't ask me why. I love the lesser known, and hate contributing to the hype machine that is the modern day superstar.

So naturally, when I see something I like that no one else cares about, I'm going to beat the topic into the ground with a shovel.

Meet Brian Anderson, a World Series champion, two-time survivor of Tommy John surgery, and pitcher turned broadcaster turned pitcher.

Last year, the Indians own television network began its second year of existence and embarked on its first year of full-time programming.

Sports Time Ohio has grown into something great for the Ohio sports fan.  Even though I just watch it for the Indian coverage, it provides wall-to-wall programming of every sport in the state.

With that journey into producing new fresh lineups, the empty suits at STO decided to bring in some more on-air talent to beef up their coverage of the Tribe.

Controversially, they brought in well renowned Cleveland broadcasting legend Bruce Drennan, who was just ending a term in prison for filing false tax returns.

They also brought in local Ohioan and former Indians pitcher Brian Anderson to be a part time contributor.

Naturally Anderson continued that trend of being the lesser known. With all eyes on Drennan and his daily call-in show, Anderson was the shining star.

Anderson did a lot of day games in the booth with the duo of Rick Manning and Matt Underwood as well as teaming up with Al Pawlowski for a weekly recap show.

I watched much of Anderson during last season, and I can't say one bad thing about the work he does.

He knows what he is talking about and he says it with confidence. He always had a smile on his face and really sold his points to you.

Towards the end of the year, he hinted at a comeback in 2008. Anderson was in his second year out of baseball, but after fully recovering from another arm surgery, he felt he was ready to give it a shot.

Anderson began his throwing program near the end of the regular season. With interest I have been following his progress with Tampa Bay this spring.

Well, what little progress that he made.

Anderson pitched in two games, and completed only one inning of work. His comeback came crashing down against the Yankees when he felt a tingle in his arm.

Then a few pitches later, that oh so familiar rip that seemingly ended his career a few years ago.

Jeff Pearlman of ESPN wrote that Anderson's fastball was topping off in the high 80's and that the movement on his pitches was as good as it has ever been at any point in his career.

But it was not to be, as Brian Anderson retired for the last time, but retired knowing he gave it his all.

Now a coach, Anderson is a man of many hats that is ready to try his hand at a new ballgame. But it really is more of the same for a guy that is as cool as him.

He isn't pitching anymore, and he won't pitch competitively ever again, but that won't get in the way of him being good at whatever he does. If he is as good at coaching as he was at being an analyst, he won't have a problem finding work.

He'll begin his new journey with the team that gave him one last shot. Brian Anderson is the assistant to pitching coach Jim Hickey, and you can be sure he'll continue to spread his knowledge of the game to the Rays’ young starters.

Brian Anderson never won a Cy Young Award, and didn't really win many games to begin with. But he won me over with his desire to never quit and his risky move to give it one more chance.

Was it a failed comeback? No, because he gained something he would have never gained had he not attempted it. He gained the answer to a question he'd had for himself for the past two years.

He also gained the love for the game he had one more time. Baseball can be a joy to play and for Brian Anderson it was a joy to just play it again.

Good luck Coach Anderson. Don't forget me when you're famous.