White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson received a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Friday for what the league described only as "his conduct after the benches cleared" during Wednesday's game against the Kansas City Royals.
But a more specific reason for his suspension might have been revealed in a report from ESPN's Jeff Passan, who said that MLB found during its investigation into the incident that Anderson used "a racially charged word."
When MLB investigated the benches-clearing incident between the White Sox and Royals, umpires and players from both teams said Tim Anderson used a racially charged word, sources tell ESPN. Anderson received a one-game suspension from the incident, per sources.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 19, 2019
A clarification: White Sox players were not asked specifically about Tim Anderson's use of the word that led to his ejection, per source, but umpires said that it was uttered within earshot of both teams.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 19, 2019
During the benches-clearing incident, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson called Royals pitcher Brad Keller a "weak-ass f---ing n-word," sources tell ESPN. Anderson, who was hit by a Keller pitch one at-bat after he hit a home run and flipped his bat, was suspended for one game.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 19, 2019
Anderson's verbal behavior was the only reason he could have received a suspension, as the bat flip that sparked the retaliation by the Royals was certainly not against the rules and he was not involved in any physical altercation with any member of the Royals while being held far away from the fracas by Jose Abreu and Joe McEwing. It seems that whatever he said on the field might have been the same reason Anderson received an ejection from the game, something he and manager Rick Renteria expressed confusion over after the game.
Renteria also received a one-game suspension from the league Friday. He and other members of the coaching staffs were the featured players in the on-field get together. Renteria had face-to-face run-ins with Royals coach Dale Sveum and Royals manager Ned Yost, who took displeasure with Renteria telling his team to get off the field. Renteria, Sveum, Anderson and Royals pitcher Brad Keller, who hit Anderson with the pitch, were all ejected Wednesday.
The entire brouhaha was sparked by Anderson's celebration of his home run earlier in the game, a monster shot that he "pimped" by launching his bat toward the White Sox dugout and yelling at his teammates in an effort to energize them. The Royals didn't see it that way, and Keller — who received a five-game suspension Friday — fired a pitch at Anderson's behind during his next at-bat. Anderson and the Royals exchanged plenty of words as he circuitously made his way toward first base, and the benches promptly cleared.
The incident has once again brought the never-ending argument over the old-school and new-school approaches to on-field celebrations and the game's "unwritten rules" to the fore. Major League Baseball's social-media accounts have continued the use of their marketing slogan "let the kids play" in apparent celebration of Anderson's bat flip, if not an all-out defense, a curious approach now that the league has handed down a suspension. Of course, no one is suggesting that the same folks sending out tweets are the ones making disciplinary decisions, and it seems Anderson's suspension stemmed from what he said after he was hit by the pitch rather than the bat flip that sparked the whole chain of events.