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Rays TV analyst Anderson blasts lack of leadership, Jennings' play

Brian Anderson, pictured with the Rays during spring training in 2008, who spent parts of 13 seasons pitching in the majors and is in his sixth year in the Rays TV booth.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2008)

Brian Anderson, pictured with the Rays during spring training in 2008, who spent parts of 13 seasons pitching in the majors and is in his sixth year in the Rays TV booth.

Rays TV analyst Brian Anderson leveled some strong criticism at the team during an interview today on Tampa radio station 620-AM WDAE, saying the recent play has "ticked me off beyond belief.'' Anderson, who spent parts of 13 seasons pitching in the majors and is in his sixth year in the Rays TV booth, specifically spoke to the Rays' lack of leadership overall, lackadaisical and disinterested play by OF Desmond Jennings, and management's handling of Jennings.

Asked by hosts Tom Krasniqi and Ronnie Lane who was going to light a fire on the struggling team, which has lost 10 of its last 12 games and played poorly, Anderson said:

"Where's the leadership on this team? That's where it's going to come from. The guy that is going to light a fire is the guy that is going to hold people accountable, that is going to be the veteran that calls guys out for lack of effort, for lackadaisical play, all the things that we have seen.

"What's sad is that this has been going on for a while but it was absolutely exacerbated by playing the Kansas City Royals, where from one half inning to the next you can see how one team does it and how they are successful defending champions and went to the World Series two years in a row, or how another team does it and can't get out of their own way.

"It comes down to leadership, and I'm quite frankly not real sure that the Rays have any.''

Asked about the play of Jennings, who among other poor plays on Wednesday glaringly didn't attempt a throw to get what seemed like an easy force-out, Anderson said:

"What is more disturbing - that's what I keep asking myself - the fact that the plays are made like they are by Desmond, or the fact that no one calls him on it. I don't know what is worse.

"I'm thinking of past teams I had played on, it would have been handled long before last night, no question about it. But it did happen then. That's what I find almost more disturbing than the play itself. There is always going to be that kind of a player on your team that is disinterested. ... It's always usually handled within house. Not on this squad. And I don't understand why. ...

"The solution is going to have ... to come within that team. Guys coming together, saying, "You know what, enough is enough, let's turn this around and let's starting doing things the right way." I'm just not quite sure who is going to lead that charge.''

And then asked how he would have handled Jennings' play if he were manager Kevin Cash, Anderson said he would have taken dramatic action and pulled Jennings from the game:

"When that half inning was over I would have walked down to the bench when everybody came off the field and I would have just simply said, "Your services are no longer needed. You can go ahead and shower up and get ready to head to Minnesota." And end it right there.

"You want to send a message to the team, you want to let guys know that this stuff is no longer tolerable, that is what you do. It's very, very simple. And it sends a loud and clear message to Desmond and it sends a loud and clear message to everybody else on that team - we're done with this. We're done.

"We're going to at least pretend to try. We're going to show some effort. We may lose, but we're going to lose, we're going to go down swinging. We're not going to go down looking like we don't give a crud that we're even out there. That's what I would have liked to have seen happen.''

For the full interview, click here.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2016 2:10pm]

    

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