White Sox

After winning a batting title, what's next on Tim Anderson's to-do list?

After winning a batting title, what's next on Tim Anderson's to-do list?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — It's probably a good time to stop suggesting things that Tim Anderson can't do.

After all, he's still the reigning major league batting champion, something plenty thought impossible after he finished the 2018 season a .240 hitter.

But his major league leading .335 average from 2019 hasn't done much to silence doubters who assume that number will return to Earth. There are still plenty who moan every time Anderson is charged with another error in the field. There are still plenty — as his recent conversation on MLB Network showed, then again on Twitter, that one with a cameo appearance from Wade Boggs — who are quick to point out that he seldom walks.

Anderson has shown time and time again that he's not going to listen to any of that and will keep working at becoming what he wants to be: the best.

"I’m going to be the best," he said Saturday at Camelback Ranch. "I’m not coming to give you nothing less from last year, I’m going to continue to work and get better. Trying to take from last year and put it with the things I learned this year. Who knows what that can turn into."

Anderson has dealt with doubters before, as recently as last season, when his hot streak was interrupted by a high ankle sprain. Missing almost the entire month of July, he showed his first 70 games were no fluke. He did them one better, improving the .317 average he had when he got hurt to .335 by season's end, batting .357 in his final 53 games.

"It was more for people around me to see what type of person I am. 'Can he continue to do what he was doing before he got hurt?'" Anderson said. "That closed those people’s mouths with coming out how I returned from that injury to go on and miss the All-Star (Game) but win the batting title.

"You can’t vote on that, you have to earn that and that was enough for me."

So what's next on Anderson's to-do list?

Is he going to walk more? While Anderson is about "changing the game" — his words from last year that the White Sox have adopted as their marketing slogan for 2020 — he's not about changing his game, especially when it worked so well in 2019. He walked just 15 times in 518 trips to the plate, but he reached base at a .357 clip. Some might argue it's unsustainable, and time will tell whether it is or isn't. What seems relatively inarguable is that the aggressive approach that prevented him from walking much in 2019 was significantly responsible for him winning the batting title.

So, yeah, he's going to keep that same approach.

"Why not?" he said. "It got me the batting title. So, why not? I’m not going to change anything."

Anderson's defense will continue to be under a microscope after he led the major leagues with 26 errors in 2019. In his four-year career, he's racked up 88 errors and while those don't tell the entire story about his defensive ability, 88 is still a big number.

While plenty of fans grumble about Anderson's defense, none of those grumblers are in the White Sox organization.

"Tim Anderson is going to be a Gold Glove contender at some point during his career at shortstop," general manager Rick Hahn said last month. "I firmly believe that, given his ability to get to balls and make plays that other people are unable to make. Getting more consistent on some of the routine things is still a work in progress. But I think you're going to see better things out of him."

A Gold Glove, eh? Yeah, Anderson's got it on his to-do list.

"Yeah, definitely. It’s definitely in my goals," he said Saturday. "I’m not saying I’m going to get it this year, not saying next year. We don’t know when it will be, but I know I will get one."

You can also put Anderson into the group with his manager and teammates who are setting huge expectations for the upcoming season. Thanks to all those breakout campaigns from core players and the acquisitions Hahn's front office made this winter, those expectations don't seem at all unrealistic. The White Sox haven't played October baseball for more than a decade, but confidence is sky high in Glendale.

Anderson is one of the guys leading that charge.

"We have a chance to do something crazy," he said. "That’s what everybody is talking about, right? So why not own up to it and set the bar high: go to the playoffs and win the championship. That’s the goal, right?

"We didn’t come here to work for nothing. We come here to win championships and make it to the playoffs. That’s no secret. Everybody knows we are here to win championships.

"Everybody knows what we are here to do. We are here to win a championship, and we are here to take it all."

Offense worthy of a batting title. Defense worthy of a Gold Glove. A team worthy of a World Series.

Being the best.

Anderson wouldn't want anything less on his to-do list.

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Mayor Lightfoot shows her White Sox fandom in video encouraging social distancing


Mayor Lightfoot shows her White Sox fandom in video encouraging social distancing

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is a White Sox fan. 

This information was revealed in a clever video her office released on Twitter Monday evening, encouraging residents to "stay at home, save lives." 

Lightfoot plays different characters in the video, like "The Analyst," where she discusses data, "The Baller," where she spends time in a kitchen making a basket in a hoop on a refrigerator, "The Voice of Reason," where she convinces people on the phone to stay home, and more.

But the truth of her sports fandom is revealed at the two-minute mark, when Lightfoot, as "The Fan," is wearing a White Sox jersey on a couch watching a game and declares, "Tell you what, if my White Sox win, you gotta stay home."

The video cuts to the final out of the 2005 World Series. Sox win. The Mayor cheers. Fandom confirmed. 

Mayor Lightfoot might be happy to know NBC Sports Chicago will re-air that deciding Game 4 as part of our "White Sox Classics" in June. 

At the end of the video, she made a call to action as "The Realist." 

"The truth is, 40,000 hospitalizations will break our healthcare system," Lightfoot said. "Stay home. Save lives." 

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: 'Pulling an El Duque' before 'pulling an El Duque' was a thing


White Sox 2005 Rewind: 'Pulling an El Duque' before 'pulling an El Duque' was a thing

Months before “pulling an El Duque” was a thing, Orlando Hernandez was getting out of bases-loaded jams all over the place.

Hernandez etched his name into White Sox history — and into that statue that’s sitting outside Guaranteed Rate Field — with his relief work in Game 3 of the ALDS, coming on in a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation and getting three straight outs to preserve a one-run lead.

But he had some practice earlier in the season.

In the White Sox 3-1 win over the Twins on April 19, Hernandez faced not one but two jams with the bases loaded and less than two outs. And he escaped both of them.

Hernandez was stellar the first time he faced the Twins in 2005, giving up just one run and striking out five hitters in seven innings. Next time out didn’t go so hot, as he gave up six runs, four of them earned, on eight hits and four walks against the Indians.

This one was somewhere in between. He gave up 10 hits but no runs, thanks to getting out of a pair of unenviable jams.

In the second inning, the Twins led off with a double and a single. A steal of second and a hit batter loaded the bases with just one out. But Hernandez followed with a strikeout of Michael Cuddyer, and after falling behind Nick Punto, 3-1, he induced an inning-ending pop out.

Four innings later, the Twins strung together three consecutive one-out singles. Bases loaded, one out yet again. But Hernandez got Punto to pop out once more, and Shannon Stewart flew out as Hernandez pitched his way out of another doomsday scenario.

Neither overshadowed what was to come, Hernandez’s legendary performance on the playoff stage. But it’s not like he didn’t have practice in similar situations.

Earlier in #SoxRewind, we saw Jon Garland show his talents as an escape artist. But in 2005, no one compared to El Duque in that category.

What else?

— The eephus! This was the first El Duque start on #SoxRewind, so the first time we got to see him unleash the eephus. It didn’t work against Jacque Jones in the sixth. Jones ripped it into center for a base hit. But it sure was fun to watch Hernandez float that thing up there.

— As relayed by Hawk Harrelson during the broadcast, Hernandez giving up 10 hits in a scoreless outing was the first time that had happened for a White Sox pitcher in more than 20 years.

— Shingo time was running out. Luis Vizcaino and Dustin Hermanson kept the Twins off the board in a three-run game in the seventh and eighth innings, but on for the save in the ninth, Shingo Takatsu experienced the kind of early season trouble that got him yanked from the closer’s role. After getting the first out of the inning, he let the Twins score a run on back-to-back hits. Ozzie Guillen didn’t let Takatsu hang around, pulling him in favor of Damaso Marte, who retired the two hitters he faced to lock down the win. Takatsu’s final save with the White Sox came in early May, and he was released on Aug. 1.

— Torii Hunter was a defensive whiz in center field for the Twins, winning nine consecutive Gold Gloves, including one in 2005. If you forgot just how skilled he was out there, you got to see a couple reasons why he’s got such an impressive trophy case in this game. He used his hose to nab Scott Podsednik trying to score on a Carl Everett fly ball in the first inning, a terrific throw that helped keep this game scoreless for five and a half innings. He made a great leaping catch at the wall to prevent the White Sox from growing their lead in the sixth.

— Joe Crede extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a pair of hits, including a go-ahead double in the fifth inning. Crede’s streak ended up lasting 14 games. He hit .408/.442/.653 with eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs during that stretch.

— Brad Radke ended up getting knocked around the first time he faced off against the White Sox in 2005, giving up five earned runs. But for the better part of that outing, he kept the South Side offense quiet. Same thing in this one, where he ended up giving up three runs on 11 hits. But he hung around for eight innings — a complete-game effort in a loss — and logged a quality start. Radke had a 4.73 ERA in 36 career starts against the White Sox.

Since you been gone

While #SoxRewind is extensive, it doesn’t include all 162 regular-season contests, meaning we’re going to be skipping over some games. So what’d we miss since last time?

April 14, 2005: Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer, but the White Sox couldn’t overcome the pair of crooked numbers the Indians hung on Hernandez and Neal Cotts. A four-run bottom of the first and a three-run bottom of the sixth added up to trouble. White Sox lose, 8-6, fall to 6-3.

April 15, 2005: Jon Garland was good, allowing just two runs in his seven innings against the Mariners. The bullpen faltered a bit trying to close things out in the ninth, but six White Sox runs — including homers by Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe — were enough. White Sox win, 6-4, improve to 7-3.

April 16, 2005: Mark Buehrle was outstanding again, turning in one of the most impressive performances he ever had: a career-high 12 strikeouts and nine innings of one-run ball against the Mariners — in 99 minutes. He threw more pitches, 106, then the number of minutes played. Amazing. Adam Hoge waxed poetic on this one. White Sox win, 2-1, improve to 8-3.

April 17, 2005: A pair of first-inning homers by his old team wasn’t a good sign for Freddy Garcia, but the two singles that accounted for three runs in a busy fifth were what doomed his squad this day. White Sox lose, 5-4, drop to 8-4.

April 18, 2005: Everett hit a pair of home runs off Kyle Lohse, including a game-winning shot that broke a 3-all tie in the sixth. Everett’s power made up for an ugly fifth inning from Jose Contreras that featured runs scoring on a balk and a wild pitch. White Sox win 5-4, improve to 9-4.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Tuesday, when you can catch the April 20, 2005, game against the Tigers, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Big days (and big flies) for both Crede and Jermaine Dye.

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