The White Sox were rained out on Tuesday, setting up a straight doubleheader with the Orioles this afternoon, and giving us time to focus on Tim Anderson when he’s at the height of his powers.
First, James Fegan wrote about Anderson’s origin story at East Central Community College in Mississippi. Anderson came to baseball late and remained off the radar for most teams, but once Anderson started gaining experience, he showed a feel for the game that caused his draft stock to explode, even if he had a lot of refining in front of him.
After reading what Fegan heard from Anderson’s junior college coach and Sox scouts, the biggest challenge he’s faced in the pros is ratcheting his game down. He had the physical skills to make plays on the edge of his range and catch up to fastballs, but when the ball slowed down, he didn’t necessarily have the ability to keep his mechanisms in check at decreased tempos, like an Yngwie Malmsteen acolyte trying to cover Wes Montgomery.
We saw the defense improve last year, and now here comes the offense. Check out this post by karkovice squad showing Anderson’s monthlong ability to stay back on breaking stuff, and sometimes off it. We’ll see if pitchers try to make Anderson cave on soft stuff, but with his April numbers locked in, nobody can take his first month away from him:
And at Sports Illustrated, Stephanie Apstein wrote about where Anderson came from in other terms. Just like his bat flips, he doesn’t hold back when stating what he perceives to be his role in the game:
He sees another barrier, one he’s intent on toppling: the ‘have-fun barrier.’
‘I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,’ he says. ‘That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game.’
But he also doesn’t hold back on fleshing out what drives him to this conclusion. We know that he’s the only black player on the White Sox, which is why he might not think about the consideration black players receive from Major League Baseball’s discipline arm. We know about the murder of his best friend that wrecked him in 2017, but we don’t know what his childhood was like, or how that experience shapes what he gets from his own kids and students on the South Side:
So when he takes three-year-old daughter Peyton to Disney on Ice, it’s hard to tell who is more excited. (These trips will soon include newborn daughter Paxton.) When he works with children through the Chicago-based violence-prevention program Becoming a Man, he says he gets as much out of the visits as his mentees do. They compare playlists and dance moves. They talk trash. The kids don’t bother to ask for photos. They just want to be his friend.
‘When I was a kid, I didn’t have nobody to come in and talk to me,’ he says. ‘I get my childhood back. That’s why I want to take my kids and do things that I didn’t do, because it’s an experience for me, too.’
It could lead to more trouble with pitchers, although he did offer Detroit’s catcher more courtesy by conducting his celebratory bat toss farther away from home plate. The closeness to Martin Maldonado was the only thing I thought invited trouble. The rest was typical country justice, and unnecessary since Anderson already blew the lead with an error.
Anderson’s putting himself out there. Some will see it as a role model, and some will see him as an object of scorn, but doing it when he has a four-digit OPS forces people to take him seriously. And as long as people have to consider him, they have to consider the White Sox by proxy, resulting in the most positive national coverage the Sox have seen in years.
Considering the last time the Sox were promoment on national sports media was l’affaire LaRoche, this seems better.
Too early for accurate spelling when I posted this, apparently.
Yeah, That’s not how you spell Drake.
Eh. Our Tailor In Chicago plus Fire Sale: East and Championship Bound were both apres L’Affaire LaRoches.
But I take your meaning: even if the press was at least positive for Fire Sale, it was at best a bittersweet experience for us.
I get the chronology of “embarrassing White Sox moments” mixed up…
2016 was an awful year and the White Sox were there for it the whole time.
Heh. Yeah, on both accounts.
Yngwie Malmsteen. A blast from my past. +1 Jim Margalus.
And in possibly the most horrifying context. Maybe Yngwie-ing Jim Hall would be worse than doing it to Wes Montgomery, but I don’t want to find out.
I remember when I discovered Yngwie Malmsteen…I was like wow…then I listened to Steve Vai, and wow morphed quickly into “Oh boy, that’s awful”
I’ve enjoyed seeing some of our young players thrive early this season, it takes the edge off our front office/ownership’s bungling.
Not yet, maybe never. Just makes the absence of Machado all the more salient….
Yeah it’s almost as if a weak devision would have made adding a star player, catching and starting help prudent
Exactly. Imagine if you had genuine Moncada/ Anderson breakouts AND Machado/Harper.
The bungling if this pas off season will have repercussions for years.
What ESPN show is that? I haven’t had cable for a couple years so I wasn’t aware ESPN moved away from the “multiple idiots making and defending ridiculous hot takes” format
High noon with bomani Jones and Pablo torre
The fact that there are mechanical changes–both what Fegan points out with setting up to pause when he recognizes junk and the broadcast team pointed out he has a more upright stance–to go with the improvement we’re seeing should give us more confidence he can retain more of the gains even as the results normalize.
Going .280 with 20-25 more HR and 30 more SB the rest of the way vs his projected .265, 17, 24 line would take him from an above-average season to an All-Star or better one.
like an Yngwie Malmsteen acolyte trying to cover Wes Montgomery.
This makes Dennis Miller’s obscure references seem tame.
Tim Anderson used to make me groan, not because of anything he specifically did, but because he seemed very much to be the typical Kenny Williams pick: the toolsy multi-sport athlete that never seems to put it all together.
But he’s clearly approaching the best possible version of himself, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be proven wrong.
And while Wes never played anything cartoonishly fast, he could handle up-tempo numbers just fine. This is pretty amazing considering he’s just using his thumb:
Tim F’ing Anderson. Together with Moncada and Rodon, the only people reliably making this season fun.
Not trolling and just a minor quibble – how come people keep saying he’s the only black White Sox? Eloy and Colome strike me as objectively black, and I’d think a fanbase that grew up worshipping Minnie Minoso (for damn good reason) wouldn’t define someone’s blackness based on whether they have a Latin last name. And as a white person I’m ill-situated to say this, but I’m pretty sure Latin black people have to put up with the same bullshit that descendants of American slaves still have to.
That said, let’s all just celebrate Timmy. As Benetti says, have all the fun you want.
Because the barrier is culture now, not color.
I read that as more a product of first basemen being fat fishermen types than being light-skinned. Hopefully they’ll play the Pirates soon.
Jim and Tim are trying to point out it’s more complicated than race alone. There are a lot of different demographic interactions that make Tim feel like an Other.
Like, hunting and fishing aren’t inherently Caucasian pastimes. But there’s definitely a Caucasian cultural throughline running from Teddy Roosevelt to Duck Dynasty that’s well-represented in MLB, used to be better-represented on the Sox, and that Tim isn’t interested in. That leaves him short a cultural touchstone to bond over.
We should read that quote as “here are a couple ways I have trouble fitting in and there are others.”
The Caribbean Latinx people I know (not many, but a few) tend to identify as Latinx first. For what my small sample size is worth.
Fegan’s first article after Tim’s suspension nodded towards the complications of African-American vs international black identities.
Jim, Addison Russell for Alex Colome? Would you do it? Would the cubs? I would play him at 2nd.
The Cubs would make that trade in a heartbeat.
Please elaborate Jim. Due to his play on the field or behavior off?
Wouldn’t want him for free.
IL Senate voted for a constitutional amendment for graduated income tax. That’s interesting on May Day. But not as interesting as repealing the estate tax followed by President Cullerton introducing Reinsdorf on the floor.
Christ, what assholes.