Major League Baseball handed out its punishments for the White Sox-Royals kerfuffle, but as you might have already heard, it didn’t close the case.
Brad Keller received the standard five-game suspension for pitchers for intentionally throwing at a batter. He’s appealing it, at least until an off day allows the Royals to reshuffle their rotation so he doesn’t miss a start. Rick Renteria received one game, which I figured would come since he might’ve been the most physically involved of any participant.
Tim Anderson — the guy who was hit by Keller’s fastball — received one game, and the league was reluctant to reveal the details. In its official release, the league cited Anderson’s “conduct.” ESPN’s Jeff Passan said Anderson was suspended for language used, which opened the floor for racist or homophobic slurs. Once Passan clarified with “racially charged” language, it became increasingly likely that he didn’t cross the reddest lines.
Then, Passan finally got to the bottom of it, and indeed, Anderson avoided the worst of it:
Although I’ll probably link “weak-ass” to Keller the rest of his career the way I still associate Ozzie Guillen’s “Triple-A [bleep]” tag for Rich Hill, it’s more frustrating and tangled than funny.
Anderson didn’t want to get any deeper into it. When the media found him before this evening’s game in Detroit, he issued mostly boilerplate responses:
He didn’t appeal his suspension, and while he might’ve had a case, it’s something he sounded like he didn’t want to draw more attention to:
Which makes sense. Back in September of 2016, Adam Jones called baseball a “white man’s sport,” based on the dwindling representation of African Americans on the field, in the dugout and in front offices. Indeed, Anderson is the only black player on the White Sox, a role he talked about on Jackie Robinson Day earlier this week. His culture is not the prevailing one, and if he has to pick battles, this one involves trying to explain who can and can’t use that word to a league that doesn’t want to think about codifying who can and can’t say it. I can’t imagine it would lead anywhere productive.
It doesn’t strike me as something to report to begin with, but somebody reported it. Stepping back, the problem might not be that Anderson was suspended at all, but that he might end up missing one more game than the guy who assaulted him, which led to the heated situation in which Anderson called Keller what he called him. If Anderson was suspended one game and Keller forced to miss 10 — even if only five are unpaid — that seems much more proportional. As we see with Lucas Giolito’s DL stint, a 10-day absence requires a team to sacrifice something.
At any rate, Anderson will get the day off, and he appears to have the support of his teammates…
I wish he would have appealed, not just out of principle, but from a strategic standpoint. Appeal, maybe get it reduced to nothing, and if not, chances are he won’t be playing as well as he is now when he has to serve it.
It’s one thing to have to just live the experience, but he’s already been thrust into a position of carrying a weight that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. An appeal would only add more to that burden, and I don’t think there’s anything I can respect more than someone willing to acknowledge their limitations and continue on in the way they feel most comfortable.
Well said, and I completely respect his choice to just put this behind him.
DISABLE THE COMMENTS BEFORE THINGS GO AWRY!
It’s an incredibly nuanced issue with that I can’t even begin to approach so I’ll keep my confused and complicated thoughts to myself. I will say I’m mad that my team’s best player is going to miss a game against a team I don’t like.
I hope soon the White Sox start making news for playing baseball and not everything else involved with playing baseball.
I have more faith in the Sox Machine community than in just about anywhere to discuss this intelligently and respectfully. I don’t think comments need to be turned off.
“I hope soon the White Sox start making news for playing baseball and not everything else involved with playing baseball. ”
How long have you been a White Sox fan? This is what they do.
This is a weak-ass suspension.
For those who haven’t read the NY Daily News article, it says it all.
Thanks for the link to this article, Laura. An important read.
I’d also recommend reading Fegan’s take on the topic. Being a white guy, I didn’t want to overstep and talk about experiences others have lived, and Anderson is living right now. James can speak to that much better, as can that NYDN essay.
Along the same lines, I think it speaks volumes that Stroman has Anderson’s back, given their previous on-field beefs:
Do I think Anderson should have been suspended? No. Does that word mean something different coming from a black man directed at a white man than when the roles are reversed? Absolutely.
However that article is pure hyperbole. We can debate the merits of the suspension and MLB having a no tolerance policy for using that type of language but equating Tim Anderson getting suspended for insulting someone to what Jackie Robinson had to go through is absolutely absurd. It actually minimizes Robinson’s accomplishment and the courage, grace, and dignity he demonstrated in the process.
I understand this take, but to me, the author wasn’t making a full equivalency, but saying that the “shut up and sit down” notion has been around a long time in a lot of degrees and forms.
I’m not sure I can add anything. Jim did a great job of laying it all out. All I can say is that it just doesn’t feel right.
Fegan’s article on the issue was great. The comments section of that article… not so much.
The takeaway is that, although context clearly matters in how and when we use words and what their meaning is, the MLB wants no part in trying to understand that.
Sucks for Tim. Hopefully the silver lining is that this whole ordeal seems to have gained him additional fans and supporters, including guys inside the game.