You didn’t need to be a practiced lip-reader to know what Tim Anderson said after being ejected in the third inning of Wednesday’s game against the Giants.
We never really got a full explanation on what exactly happened that led to Anderson getting the heave-ho from the home-plate umpire. Pedro Grifol said Wednesday and again Thursday that the All-Star shortstop believed he’d yet to make eye contact with pitcher Logan Webb when Webb chucked Strike 3 down the middle to a seemingly unready Anderson. Grifol described it as Anderson believing he was “quick-pitched.”
After gesturing to the ump a couple times, Anderson retreated to the dugout. Then at the conclusion of Luis Robert Jr.’s at-bat against Webb (another strikeout), Anderson was yelling at Webb. The ump tossed Anderson, who complained that he was directing all his ire at Webb, not crowing at the man behind the plate.
No matter, the White Sox were without Anderson for the remainder of the game.
All the supposed controversy aside – heightened by the interaction between Andrew Vaughn and Anthony DeSclafini on Monday – this was far from the first time Anderson got sent packing early, the eighth time in his career, to be precise. It’s enough of a trend that some chimed in to say he’s hurting his team by reducing his time on the field in such a manner.
That line of thinking was presented to the new South Side skipper Thursday.
“I don’t see it that way,” Grifol said. “Tim Anderson’s a passionate player, an exciting player, and part of that passion comes with a little bit of an edge. That’s how he reacted. Tim’s a smart kid. He knows what he’s doing.
“I don’t have a problem with that. That’s how he plays the game, that’s how I want him to play the game. That’s what we want (him), as an organization, to bring to this team.”
That would seem to be the right approach, considering all Anderson does mean to the White Sox and that it includes far more than just what shows up in the box score. Anderson’s emotion and energy are mighty valuable and just as important as his bushel full of hits when it comes to his job description of “making this team go.” If that produces an ejection every now and again, it’s a price worth paying, because the White Sox would be far worse off if he wasn’t talking and yelling and firing up the dugout at every opportunity.
For what it’s worth, Anderson didn’t want to get into specifics when he spoke to the media after Thursday’s game and wanted to completely move on from what happened a day prior. But he did acknowledge that having a highly competitive attitude is a good thing for the club, as a whole.
It might not be the last time you see Anderson ejected this season. But in the long run, the benefit of having his edge and his attitude on this White Sox team will far outweigh any hindrance that comes with him making an earlier than scheduled exit.