White Sox manager Tony La Russa was reassured when asked what happened Saturday between Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson and Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson.
La Russa said of Donaldson: “He made racist comments. “That’s all I have to say.”
Shortly after the Yankees defeated Chicago at Yankee Stadium, 7-5, the white Donaldson admitted to calling the black Anderson ‘Jackie’ in episode 1. Anderson said it happened twice in the game. Anderson considered comments about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barriers of Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 “disrespectful” and agreed with the manager that the comments were racist.
“Basically he was trying to call me Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said. “He said, ‘Hey, Jackie, what’s going on?’ “I don’t play that way. I really don’t play at all. I really didn’t want to bother anyone today, but he left a comment, which was rude and I don’t think it was necessary. It was unnecessary.”
Anderson and Donaldson exchanged words on the field early in the match. The situation worsened when White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal faced off as Donaldson stepped into the plate in the fifth inning. Grandal, pointing to Anderson at shortstop, faced Donaldson and the bench was vacated. Short jogging Anderson was restrained by his teammates and moved away from Donaldson. No punches were thrown.
After the match, Grandal said: “It is simply unacceptable. I thought it was a low blow, and I want to make sure I got my team back. You shouldn’t say that.
“Trust me. I don’t want to tell you what I told him.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone says the Chicago accusations need to be uncovered before he can say more. Major League Baseball will investigate the situation. Newsday’s Laura Albaniz.
Meanwhile, Donaldson said he had been calling Anderson “Jackie” over the years. He claimed it was an old joke between them. 2019 Sports Illustrated Articles “I feel like Jackie Robinson today,” Anderson said.
Anderson was talking about his desire to introduce more personality and flair to baseball’s traditionally reserved culture. Anderson faced a backlash from these efforts at times during his career.
“So I called him ‘Jackie’ in the first inning. Let me give you a little context on this.” Donaldson started. “In 2019, he said in an interview that he is the new Jackie Robinson in baseball and will bring the fun back to the game. In 2019, when I played for Atlanta, we actually joked about it in the game.
“I don’t know what has changed, I’ve told him over the years. I’m not joking about the fact that he called himself Jackie Robinson in any way. So if something has changed in that – it’s not my point of trying to be racist by any fact in the matter. It was when I just came out of the interview.”
Donaldson added: “Obviously he thought it was rude. And if he did, I apologize. It was not something I was trying to do in any way.”
Anderson had no humor.
“It happened the first time he rode it, and I saved the time,” Anderson said. “And it happened again. It was just not required.”
Donaldson said he was open to private conversations with Anderson. His characterization of the situation was a bit frowned upon as Anderson and the White Sox have had a bad recent streak with Donaldson. Last week Anderson made an exception to Donaldson’s physical tag when the team played in Chicago. In an attempted pick-off play from third base, Donaldson pushed Anderson out of the bag and ultimately made a safe call. As a result, he got horses back and forth and did some modest bench-clearing.
Donaldson also faced the White Sox in 2021 when he was part of the American League Central Twins, similar to Chicago. In that matchup, Donaldson home run off White Sox ace Lucas Giolito. As Donaldson crossed the home plate, he could be heard shouting “No more sticky hands,” nodding his head to MLB’s crackdown on pitchers using foreign objects.
Giolito later called Donaldson a ‘pest’ and said that if an infielder had a problem, he should say it face to face. Donaldson told reporters that he met Giolito in the stadium parking lot.
On Saturday, Donaldson took responsibility for last week’s tag on Anderson and said he was trying to “lighten” the ongoing tensions in an attempt to calm the situation. “We’re not trying to start a fight or anything like that,” Donaldson said.
The White Sox, who finished the regular season series with a doubleheader on Sunday with the Yankees, didn’t think so.
“He lives in his own world.” Grandal brought up an argument with Giolito while talking about Donaldson.
“I’m sure other teams would have reacted the same. As I said, such comments are unacceptable.”