White Sox

Tim Anderson and the Royals stir up baseball's never-ending debate: 'You want him to not do that? Get him out'

Tim Anderson and the Royals stir up baseball's never-ending debate: 'You want him to not do that? Get him out'

"Baseball's a game, and games are supposed to be fun."

Apparently the Kansas City Royals never saw "Mr. Baseball."

Tim Anderson went viral Wednesday and stirred up the never-ending argument over baseball's unwritten rules. Anderson, who talks so often of having fun and trying to bring energy to these White Sox, didn't so much flip his bat as he did throw it like a javelin after absolutely crushing a home run deep into the left-field seats at Guaranteed Rate Field. So when he received a plunking right on the behind the next time he came to the plate, no one was surprised.

The teams spilled onto the field and stayed there for quite a while. Anderson, clearly sharing words with the Royals as he somewhat circuitously made his way toward first base, was sequestered by Jose Abreu and Joe McEwing early on in the proceedings, leaving the coaching staffs, interestingly enough, to play the starring roles in the on-field get together. Rick Renteria repeatedly tried to shoo the Royals off the field, at one point coming face to face with Dale Sveum, who also once held the position of manager on the North Side of town. Ned Yost took exception to Renteria's instruction and those two were nose to nose at one point. No punches were thrown, and somehow Anderson ended up receiving an ejection — something everyone besides longtime White Sox foil Joe West was bewildered by.

But even though West earned plenty of scorn on social media, the overarching conversation dealt with Anderson and the Royals. This isn't Anderson's first run-in with the division rivals. Benches cleared in Kansas City last April when Salvador Perez took exception with Anderson's reaction to a home run. Some advice for the grumpy Royals, not long ago among the game's up-and-comers: Maybe stop giving up home runs to Anderson.

Renteria seemed to agree.

"He's going to be who he is. He doesn't do it to show anybody up. You clearly can tell that," Renteria said after the game. "If you look at the video, he's looking into (the White Sox dugout during his home run celebration). He's not looking at anybody else, he's not trying to show them up.

"Get him out. You want him to not do that? Get him out."

Whether they actually hold baseball's old-timey traditions dear or they were just irritated on this day after this home run, the Royals were the ones standing in the way of the new style Wednesday. Major League Baseball's marketing department has leaned in the opposite direction, trotting out slogans such as "let the kids play" in recent months. That chill-inducing playoff commercial narrated by Ken Griffey Jr. and featuring all sorts of screaming and celebrating showed which way they'd like the game to go, surely in an effort to attract younger viewers to a game well more than a century old.

The Royals might get that, to be fair. They might not be a bunch of crusty old-timers. Heck, Brad Keller is two years younger than Tim Anderson. But that's not how things looked Wednesday.

Anderson has been talking about having fun for years, and his batting average sitting north of .400 in the season's early going has finally put him in the spotlight. Who knows if he's seen "Mr. Baseball," but he gets that games are supposed to be fun.

"I’m going to continue to be me and keep having fun," Anderson said. "Our fans, they pay their hard-earned money to come to the ballpark to see a show. So why don’t I give them one?

"I’m going to continue to play hard and keep playing for my team and the South Side. I’m in a place where I want to be. I’m going to continue to play hard and keep having fun.

"I don’t have any rules. I play to have fun, and I play with a lot of energy."

Whether the Royals are still upset or not, whether old-timers watch the clip of Anderson's bat launch and furrow their brows, it's easy to see how Anderson's style can win over a lot of fans.

Anderson is gaining a bit of a reputation now, it seems. This wasn't his first run-in with these Royals, nor was it the first time he was ejected by West. You might remember back to last September, when Anderson was tossed from a game against the Cubs and said afterward "everybody knows he's terrible." A lot of fans on social media agreed Wednesday, perhaps still holding a grudge from 2010, when West ejected Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen and caused Hawk Harrelson to say, among many other things, "that is a flat-out absolute disgrace to the umpiring profession."

But Anderson's not looking to change his ways. And why should he? He's having fun. That's what you're supposed to do in a game like this. And his teammates are appreciative of that.

For those who don't like it, the route to fixing it is pretty clear, as Renteria illustrated: Get him out.

What would Anderson do if the shoe was on the other foot? If he was the pitcher and someone pimped a home run against him?

"Try to strike them out."

Well said.

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: Scott Podsednik and the art of making things happen

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AP

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Scott Podsednik and the art of making things happen

An awful lot of energy is spent these days discussing the leadoff spot.

Offense struggling? Maybe there needs to be a new leadoff hitter. Offense doing fine but the leadoff man isn’t of the stereotypical variety? Better think about making a change.

While teams certainly don’t need a stereotypical leadoff hitter who specializes in speed and small ball to be successful — the school of thought that your best player should get the most plate appearances possible is not a bad one — Scott Podsednik showed how guys at the top of the order can simply make things happen and win you ballgames because of it.

On April 11, 2005, the White Sox were once again having trouble figuring out Kevin Millwood, who was throwing his second gem against the White Sox in as many starts to begin his season. But after five scoreless innings, Podsednik made something happen.

He popped up a bunt that went so awry that it went over Millwood and behind the pitcher’s mound. It was a bad bunt, maybe, but it worked. He reached first with a single. Not long after, he used that blazing speed of his to swipe second base and put himself in scoring position with nobody out.

In a one-run game, the White Sox down 1-0 at the time, Podsednik changed everything. He scored the tying run two batters later, when Carl Everett drove him in with a single. It’s a run that doesn’t happen without Podsednik’s skill set. Call it the best argument in favor of the stereotypical leadoff man. Or just call it making things happen.

Podsednik did it again two innings later, driving in the winning run to cap a two-out rally against Millwood. After two quick outs, Chris Widger and Joe Crede delivered back-to-back singles. Podsednik made it three in a row, driving in Widger — who went from first to third on Crede’s hit up the middle — to put the White Sox in front.

Podsednik’s work 15 years ago isn’t likely to do much to sway any ongoing arguments over who should lead off for the 2020 White Sox or any of the 29 other teams. But it sure paid big dividends for the 2005 White Sox.

He made it happen.

What else?

— Millwood pitched extraordinarily well against the White Sox for the second time in 2005. After throwing six shutout innings on April 6, he allowed just two runs over seven innings in this one. Millwood ended up making five starts against the White Sox in 2005, logging a 1.32 ERA in 34 innings, but went just 0-2 in those five games. He had himself an excellent season overall, with a 2.86 ERA that led the American League and was the second lowest single-season ERA of his 16-year big league career. He finished sixth in the AL Cy Young vote that season, tying with White Sox pitcher Jon Garland and finishing behind Mark Buehrle.

— Freddy Garcia was pretty darn good in this one, too, throwing eight innings of one-run ball. He retired the final 13 batters he faced. Garcia allowed just three runs in 14 innings in his first two starts of the season. This one was the first of a whopping nine outings he made that season of at least eight innings.

— Garcia threw a pair of wild pitches with Grady Sizemore at the dish in the second inning, two of the 20 he ended up throwing in 2005. That total led the major leagues. In the following season, his second full campaign with the White Sox, he only threw four in the same number of starts, 33.

— Podsednik threw Ronnie Belliard out at third base in the third inning, preventing what might’ve been another run in the inning the Indians scored their lone tally. Podsednik had three outfield assists in 2005, and that was one of them.

— “Aaron’s going to get hit a lot in his career.” Hawk Harrelson chalked up Aaron Rowand getting hit by a pitch in the fifth inning to the center fielder’s approach at the plate. Well, Rowand did get hit by a lot of pitches in 2005, 21 of them, to be exact. Only Shea Hillenbrand of the Blue Jays got hit by more that season. This one that caught Rowand in the hand looked like it hurt like hell.

— Remember when the Indians played at The Jake? Good times.

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 10, 2005: The White Sox got shut down by the reigning AL Cy Young winner, Johan Santana, who allowed just two runs in his seven innings, striking out 11. The Twins tagged Buehrle for five runs, including four in the third inning alone. Torii Hunter’s three-run homer was the big blow in that frame. White Sox lose, 5-2, drop to 4-2.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Sunday, when you can catch the April 13, 2005, game against the Indians, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s an extra-inning affair with some heroics from Juan Uribe.

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Trust in White Sox closer Shingo Takatsu dwindled early in 2005 season

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USA Today

Trust in White Sox closer Shingo Takatsu dwindled early in 2005 season

Early in the 2005 season, there was one White Sox player that fans thought was on thin ice and another who actually was on thin ice.

Despite playing great defense at third base, Joe Crede hadn’t exactly won over the fan base yet. He hit just .239 in 2004 with a .717 OPS in his second full major league season. He was already 27 and the White Sox had used their first round draft pick in 2004 to select hot shot third baseman Josh Fields, who was already considered an MLB Top 100 prospect.

So when Crede got off to a 3-for-21 start in the team’s first six games in ’05, there were already calls for his benching.

It wasn't going to happen. Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen were prepared to be patient with Crede. They seemed more concerned with closer Shingo Takatsu.

Takatsu had taken the South Side by storm in 2004, entering games in the ninth inning to standing ovations and the sound of a gong playing over the speakers at U.S. Cellular Field. After taking over the closing duties in June, Takatsu converted 19-of-20 save opportunities in his first year with the White Sox.

Still, there were concerns that his unique frisbee style of pitching wouldn't last once teams saw Takatsu more than once. Those concerns were heightened when the Indians tagged him for three solo home runs on April 7, 2005, leading to the White Sox’s first loss of the season. Takatsu’s only blown save in 2004 also came to the Indians and Guillen was already voicing his concerns.

“I might not use him against (the Indians),” Guillen told the Chicago Tribune. “They have a good left-handed lineup. Right now, he’s going to be there no matter what. We’re going to see the next couple days.”

It wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence, especially considering the White Sox had already played three straight close games against the Indians, including two one-run victories.

But that was the situation as the White Sox went to Cleveland with a 4-2 record for the Indians’ home opener. Freddy Garcia took the mound for his second start of the season, while Kevin Millwood countered for the 3-3 Indians.

Here was Guillen’s lineup:

LF Scott Podsednik
2B Tadahito Iguchi
DH Carl Everett
1B Paul Konerko
RF Jermaine Dye
CF Aaron Rowand
SS Pablo Ozuna
C Chris Widger
3B Joe Crede

The White Sox-Indians game from Apr. 11, 2005 will air Saturday at 4 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago. For the full White Sox Rewind schedule from the 2005 season, click here.