ST. LOUIS — After White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson drew the Royals’ ire Saturday by shouting with excitement as his home run soared into the Kansas City night, he accused the Royals of ‘‘trying to take the fun out of baseball.’’
Sox manager Rick Renteria saw things similarly, making a mocking reference to what perhaps is an overabundance of ‘‘unwritten rules’’ in the game.
Before the opener Tuesday of the Sox’ two-game series against the Cardinals, general manager Rick Hahn made it clear where he stands, too, slapping Royals veteran Salvador Perez and anyone else complaining about Anderson’s shows of enthusiasm this season as the ‘‘fun police.’’
This, after Anderson and his wife hosted a group of students from Austin and Schurz high schools for a visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, followed by a night of baseball at Kauffman Stadium.
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‘‘That speaks so much more about who Tim Anderson is, in terms of Tim Anderson’s character — which is really what the whole fun-police thing is about, his character — than anything that happens between the white lines,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘That’s who Tim Anderson is.
‘‘In terms of his enthusiasm, fantastic. I’ll take 25 guys like that, in terms of guys that play with intensity and passion and joy for the game. That’s wonderful. Now, other people policing it, that’s certainly their prerogative. They can chime in any way they feel they need to. That’s their right. But in this clubhouse, I’ll be happy to go to battle with 25 Tim Andersons.’’
Tips of the cap
Class AA Birmingham catcher Seby Zavala and Class A Winston-Salem outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe shared Sox Player of the Month honors for April, and Class AAA Charlotte right-hander Michael Kopech was named Sox Pitcher of the Month.
Basabe, 21, had a slash line of .313/.400/.614 with four homers, three triples, seven doubles and 17 RBI for the Dash in April. He was acquired from the Red Sox with second baseman Yoan Moncada and Kopech in the trade for left-hander Chris Sale.
Zavala, 24, had a .315/.411/.616 slash line and tied for the Southern League lead with six homers and 19 RBI in April. Sharing catching duties with 2015 first-round draft pick Zack Collins, Zavala also hit four doubles and had an 11-game on-base streak to begin the season. Zavala was selected by the Sox in the 12th round of the 2016 draft.
Kopech, 22, went 0-1 with a 2.14 ERA, 29 strikeouts and a .189 opponents’ batting average in four starts in April for the Knights. He is the Sox’ top pitching prospect and the No. 10-ranked prospect in baseball by MLBPipeline.com.
The Sox have had a losing record in interleague play in each of the last three seasons, going 24-36 overall. The opener against the Cardinals was the first of 20 interleague games — all against the National League Central — in 2018. They’ll play six against the Cubs, four each against the Cardinals and Pirates and three apiece against the Reds and Brewers.
Contributing: Daryl Van Schouwen