Tim Anderson was furious. So were his White Sox teammates. And a benches-clearing brawl nearly erupted as a result of what they believed was a racist comment made by the Yankees Josh Donaldson.
After the Yankees’ 7-5 victory at the Stadium on Saturday, Anderson said Donaldson used the phrase, “What’s up Jackie?” twice during the game, which he took as racist. Donaldson’s response was that he has jokingly called Anderson, who is black, “Jackie” (as in Jackie Robinson) before because the infielder had previously referred to himself in 2019 as “today’s Jackie Robinson.”
“He just made a disrespectful comment. He was trying to call me Jackie Robinson, ‘What’s up Jackie?” a visibly upset Anderson said. “I don’t play like that. … That happened the first time he got on, and I spared him that time, and it happened again. It’s just uncalled for.”
Later, Anderson said: “I’ll never sleep this off.”
Tim Anderson is restrained from going after Josh Donaldson during the Yankees’ win over the White Sox. Robert Sabo for the NY POST
Donaldson said afterward that he has playfully called Anderson “Jackie” in the past, a reference to a 2019 Sports Illustrated article in which Anderson said, “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson.”
“Obviously he deemed that it was disrespectful. Look, if he did, I apologize,” Donaldson said. “There was no meaning by me saying that to him other than he’s called himself that. That’s it.”
The two players exchanged words in the third inning before things escalated in the bottom of the fifth. White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal approached Donaldson, who was coming to bat, to tell him what he had said to Anderson was unacceptable. As the conversation between Grandal and Donaldson grew heated, Anderson ran toward home plate. Multiple teammates had to hold Anderson back.
Josh DonaldsonGetty Images
“What sparked it is the comment he made,” Grandal said. “This game went through a period of time where a lot of those comments were made and I think we’re way past that. It’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow, and I want to make sure I got my team’s back. There’s no way you’re allowed to say something like that.”
Both benches were warned, but it was otherwise just back-and-forth jawing.
A week ago, the two had gotten into a dust-up during a game in Chicago when Donaldson appeared to push Anderson off third base, resulting in Anderson shoving Donaldson off him and the two exchanging words. Coaches got between the two before it could worsen.
“Same smoke,” is how Anderson described it.
Josh Donaldson (left) and Tim Anderson’s first altercation last week. Getty Images
The two crossed paths again Saturday in the seventh after Donaldson walked and was erased at second on a double play ball. Anderson turned and seemed to say something to Donaldson, who appeared to laugh to himself as he ran back to the dugout.
As for further fireworks between the two players, Anderson was uncertain how it would unfold. The doubleheader Sunday marks the final regular-season games between the two teams.
“I can’t really call it, because I don’t know my energy when I see him, I don’t know his energy,” Anderson said. “But we’ll see.”