Friday, April 19, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-19-19

2016 Topps Update #287b - Tim Anderson

Currently the American League average leader, Tim Anderson has had a wonderful start to the 2019 season. He's certainly grabbed everyone's attention this year. Tim has vowed to be himself, have fun and entertain the crowd. So far, he has done just that. Even if it annoys the competition.

Bat flips and celebrations are nothing new. Neither is showboating. The actions this week from Tim Anderson as he hit a home run, were nothing out of the ordinary. Still, the opposition took offense. Even as, MLB tweeted out a celebratory tweet about Tim and his home run, that was the catalyst in a long standing uneasiness between the White Sox and Royals that dates back to at least the mid-seventies.

When these teams get together, things can get explosive. Feelings get hurt and tensions arise with the fragility of an eggshell. It takes one little thing. Add in an umpire that likes to stir the pot, especially against the White Sox, and things get out of hand quickly. That's what happened this week, which led to three ejections and three suspensions, including Tim Anderson.

Tim Anderson, with some help from Jose Abreu, took the high road, stayed out of the melee and just wanted to take the base. A screaming Heath Fillmyer, didn't ease tensions at all. Who is Heath Fillmyer and why does he want to get involved in something that he has no direct stake in. One can argue that he's sticking up for his teammates. That's one take, but it would be misguided.

I can understand why manager Rick Renteria got bent out of shape. While the incident was over and calmer heads tried to prevail to first base, two huge waves of royal blue came from two different directions towards first base. This led to a near confrontation between managers, then some jawing between Renteria and former White Sox short term infielder/current Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum.

So, out of all that posturing, only three people were ejected from the game... Royals pitcher Brad Keller (for throwing the pitch intentionally that started this whole mess), White Sox manager Rick Renteria (who just yelled at some people and almost fought physically) and Tim Anderson. For what, you might ask? Tim was suspended for "racially-charged language". He basically said to the Caucasian pitcher who hit him was a "weak-ass f-ing N-word".

So if we are going to open this can of worms, why hasn't this type of ejection been more prevalent? I don't think there's a Caucasian slur out there that would personally offend me, but I would expect it to carry the same amount of weight as any racial slur against any other race, color or creed. If it doesn't, then that would be racial discrimination by definition.

Would Tim still be suspended if he had called Keller a Caucasian slur, instead of the N-word? I guess we'll never know the answer to that. Does a racial slur matter if the insulted party is not the slur's race? Would it have mattered if Keller had called Anderson a racial slur?

I could play devil's advocate all day with all of the scenarios, but at the end of the day, it does not matter. I'm expecting to hear more players and coaches being ejected this year for "racially-charged language". If not, then there's something very fishy going on. I have ears at the ballpark. I can hear things that are said on the field. This was not an isolated incident. But timing is everything and those overheard racial slurs were not said in the heat of the moment after a bench clearing incident. They were said casually and laughed about. Does context of speech matter? Apparently so.

But don't let this all discourage you. This was just one game in a season of 162. There are plenty more games that will be incident free. This should not detract from another beautiful season of baseball. Tim Anderson will continue to have a wonderful season. The White Sox will continue in their rebuild mode. The Royals will still play in Kansas City. Everything will continue as it should.

Shouldn't it?


Bulldog said...

That's a great looking card. I'm for players being ejected/punished for any racially charged language. Context is something MLB will have to determine if it is important. Seems like this came up a few years ago with some players speaking to each other. Words said were those not normally condoned but the players talked about context. I don't really know the answer as it is usually more complicated than I'm ready to make it out to be.

Steve Gierman said...

There definitely needs to be one direction here. Either it's called all the time or not at all. Everything is included or none of it is. I'm not sure how MLB could effectively police that either. A lot of what could fall under this policy could be hearsay. I'm sure there will be many bumps along the way as they figure this out.

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