Guardians Lose, But At Least They Aren’t Tim Anderson


Let’s get one thing straight. Tim Anderson is a jerk.

What once came off as brash but fun behavior from the White Sox shortstop has slowly devolved into more and more ridiculous, asinine antics from a ballplayer that thinks he is more important to the game than he really is. If he wants to be braggadocios after a big hit or even flip his bat when he hits a juiced ball walk-off home run to win the 2021 Field of Dreams game, that’s one thing. More power to him. But his interactions against the Cleveland Guardians dating back to last season are all the proof that is needed that he has become way too big for his britches.

Last year, towards the end of an abysmal series in April at Progressive Field, Anderson committed three errors in one inning. Anderson would proceed to respond to this adversity not by bettering his play on the field or leaning into his robust confidence. Instead, in a weak-willed move, he flipped off the crowd that was jeering him for his poor play, and he did it in the direction of the Guardians’ dugout.

Fast forward to Friday night, where in the bottom of the 4th of a 2-2 ballgame in Cleveland, Guardians infielder Brayan Rocchio smacked a base hit to right field and tried to reach second after the ball was misplayed. In a fit of good hustle, Rocchio did successfully beat Anderson’s tag on the play. However, in what was a completely bush league maneuver by Anderson, he shoved Rocchio’s arm off of second base while continuing to hold the tag on Rocchio. Rocchio was initially still called safe by the umpire on the field, but after some overly-complicated technicalities in the replay center, Rocchio was called out despite it being against the rules for a fielder to force a player off base. Not necessarily as classless as blatant disrespect directed at the opposing crowd and dugout, but still not exactly sportsmanlike behavior from Anderson.

And all of this set the stage for Saturday night, where on a similar play at second base, Guardians star third baseman and leader Jose Ramirez slid hard head-first into second base for an RBI double. More specifically, Ramirez slid hard enough that his momentum planted the midsection of his body onto the base, sliding between the knees of Anderson applying the tag. This is pure speculation on my part, but the slide seemed completely intentional given what transpired the previous night. Upon the dust settling on the play, Ramirez looked up from between Anderson’s knees while Anderson kept the tag on Ramirez.

At this point, what was said or exactly occurred next remains uncertain. Ramirez claims that he told Anderson in no uncertain terms that the forceful tag that he was currently laying and had laid the night before was cheap and disrespectful of the game. What we do know for certain is that Ramirez and Anderson went from talking to jawing at each other. And as Ramirez did rise to his feet that jawing turned into both ballplayers sizing each other up, and then Anderson taking his glove off as both players raised their fists and squared up (Ramirez also claims Anderson instigated the physical altercation).

What then transpired was a baseball fight like I have only seen once before. This was not as premeditated and as expected as the day when Texas Ranger Rougned Odor socked Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista in the face in 2016 (the only fight I’ve witnessed like it). This was more organic. As I sat there on Saturday night, my internal monologue went from “That was a hard slide… probably because of last night” to “they don’t seem to be happy with each other” to “Are they squaring up?! They’re squaring up!”, and then lastly, “Whoa, Anderson’s going down!”.

That’s right. Anderson took two swings, naturally, both missed because he hasn’t been able to square up a baseball let alone a punch this year (59 OPS+ this year, yikes). The flailing misses left Anderson exposed as Ramirez sent a right-handed haymaker into Anderson’s chin, staggering Anderson and ultimately landing him on his butt.

Chaos ensued. Both benches and bullpens emptied. There were multiple shoving spats and allegedly Guardians third base coach Mike Sarbaugh also threw a punch. White Sox manager Pedro Grifol instigated the Guardians coaching staff and Terry Francona verbally shot back. Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase was incensed but restrained. At one point, Anderson, who had practically been carried off the field by his teammates as he pretended to be tough and want more after getting embarrassed, broke loose and got back on the field. However, with all this acknowledged, no other major incidents occurred.

So, like I was saying, Anderson is a jerk. He is a bush leagued, loud-mouthed, self-important, stones for hands, weak-hitting excuse for a ballplayer that disrespects the game habitually and thinks he’s God’s gift to baseball. He plays on a team that everyone thought would walk away with the AL Central division last year before they played exactly .500 ball, finished 11 games back and then blamed it on their senile old man of a manager. The problem is that they have underachieved even worse this year after firing that manager. The evidence is mounting that this generation of Chicago White Sox is an overpaid, overrated and over-hyped baseball team. They are a bunch of guys with fake swagger and less talent than they pretend to have. And Tim Anderson is their figure head.

And yeah, I know the Guardians ended up losing the game. I also know this season hasn’t been the best and in particular, this week has been really strange. In fact, if this week is any indication, we could be in for a bizarre and probably anti-climatic end to this season. But at least we can lean on the fact that this organization continues to try to do things the right way. The Guardians run one of the best and most well-respected organizations in baseball and that leadership is possessed not just in the front office but in the manager’s office and on the field. What Ramirez did on Saturday night was defend himself, defend his teammates and defend his organization. The way he did it was a little ugly, but he did what he had to do.

Tonight, even in a loss, I am just happy I root for Jose Ramirez’s team and not Tim Anderson’s.

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