Friday, March 26, 2004

The LA Times reports on a lot of invective hurled the Halos' way by Kevin Appier, who apparently resents the sunset of his career. You may remember Appier from such Angel highlights as "Let's Bury My Team by Four Runs in a Deciding Game of the World Series So that My Teammates Can Mount a Dramatic Comeback in the Seventh and Eighth Innings" and "I'll Follow That Up with a Season of a 5.63 ERA and a K:BB Ratio Below 2:1."

After this sterling record (to be fair, he did have a good year in 2002, and Ace Washburn also got roughed up in the World Series), comes now Appier to whine about being unceremoniously dumped by the Lads last year. Here's a passage from the article, written by Mike DiGiovanna:

"Appier had been critical of Scioscia's handling of the pitching staff and had disputed Scioscia's oft-stated contention that inconsistent starting pitching was the primary reason for the Angels' struggles last season. The right-hander believes those comments contributed to his release, a claim Scioscia denies."

There's a word that perfectly sums up "Scioscia's oft-stated contention that inconsistent starting pitching was the primary reason for the Angels' struggles last season." That word is: Duh.

That the starting pitching fell apart last season is a fact so blatantly obvious that we need not waste our time proving it. I understand that Appier is a professional athlete, was a very very good pitcher for a number of years, and has resultant and deserved pride. But the inconsistency (to put it mildly) of Angels starters -- including the Ape -- was a big obstacle for the Angels last year.

Of course, Appier also feels that his public comments disputing Scioscia's obvious claim were cause for his release. Really? You're sure it wasn't the fact that you were a 36 year old pitcher with an ERA+ of 76? As Scioscia is quoted in the article, "What it came down to was Kevin was not throwing the ball that well, and Shields looked lights out."

The article also points to Appier's last game as an Angel, a sterling performance wherein he allowed four earned runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning. Appier thinks that Scioscia believes he showed him when being removed, which Scoscia denies.

I'm not really sure what Appier's beef is here; he is trying to claim that he was somehow mistreated, or released for the wrong reasons. Kevin, here is the sad but true fact: you sucked last year. Yes, injuries were involved, but you couldn't get the job done as well as other alternatives the Angels had. And no matter what you were saying about it, you just couldn't get guys out. So you got released. We thank you for the lasting memories of 2002 (and for setting up the dramatic Game Six comeback), but teams have to make decisions in the now and for the future, and your performance is the motivating factor for those decisions. It's not personal, Ape; it's business.

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