"I don't care about what anyone has to say, I go out and do me."
These were the words White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson in an interview with The Undefeated that was released on Monday.
Anderson has made quite a name for himself in 2019. The 26-year-old shortstop is in the midst of a career-best season. As of Monday evening, he has a slash line of .324/ .347/.492 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI.
Anderson has gone on at length explaining his reasoning behind his bat flips and vibrant displays of emotion that are not commonplace in MLB action.
Earlier in the year Anderson was on Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum's podcast and stated, "You're playing a game that you're failing most of the time and the times that you do succeed they don't want you to enjoy those moments. For me man, y'know, I think that's just a lot of pain showing.....from struggling, that's just that emotion that's coming out man.....those moments that I want to remember and I want people around me to remember. That’s why I play the way that I do.”
When asked to described the current culture of Major League Baseball for The Undefeated, Anderson was quick in his response, "Boring."
And Anderson has indeed been a part of the crusade to make baseball more exciting for the viewer with his high energy style of play.
He made national headlines and ignited a huge discussion about the "unwritten rules" of baseball with his bat flipping antics following his 50th career home run against the Kansas City Royals on April 17. Anderson knew how big the moment was and says things got "more interesting" following that day.
"I know that woke the black community up. A lot of black people don't watch baseball, when they seen a black guy flip a bat...[they said] 'he's one of us.'
But Anderson—the lone black player on the White Sox—also wants to make sure he is doing his absolute best to inspire other young black athletes to pursue their dreams of becoming MLB players and he has already helped a large number of young athletes find a suitable role model. Amateur elite outfielder Winston Hill said, "Ever since Tim Anderson's been in the league I've always kept my eye on him.....he plays the game the right way but yet still has fun with it and that's what the game's all about to me."
Anderson will continue to motivate the youth to achieve their dreams and do all that he can to help baseball resonate within the black community. "If you see a guy that's close to your area, at a high-level playing and having fun, you know, I'm sure they're [kids] gonna want to go out and do the same thing."
Ultimately, Anderson's long-term goal is to "motivate the culture to try and learn more about baseball and motivate kids to get into baseball" and if he keeps the momentum built in 2019 rolling well into 2020 and beyond, Major League Baseball will be all the better because of it.