DETROIT — On the morning after the bat flip heard ’round the baseball world, shortstop Tim Anderson had no problem drowning out the noise.
“I slept real good,” Anderson said. “I slept like a baby.”
Anderson’s three-quarter sidearm chuck of his bat toward the White Sox’ dugout after a home run off the Royals’ Brad Keller on Wednesday had everyone talking about unwritten rules, if Anderson was showing up the Royals and what’s too much in baseball’s restrained world of celebrations.
“I would do it all over the same,’’ Anderson said before the Sox’ 9-7 loss to the Tigers on Thursday afternoon. “Keep going. I can’t worry about that. It doesn’t faze me. Nothing bothers me. I’ll keep bringing a lot of energy and keep having fun.’’
While pundits, talking heads and players were taking sides, Anderson was continuing his hot start, going 2-for-5 with two runs and a stolen base against Detroit, although he did foul out as the tying run against Shane Greene to end the game. He had no homers to celebrate, but he busted a little move with Eloy Jimenez after the Sox’ prized rookie broke out of a 2-for-20 rut with his third homer.
Trying to bounce back from that deflating loss in 10 innings to the Royals, the Sox also got home runs from Class AAA Charlotte call-up Ryan Cordell and Welington Castillo but couldn’t turn the gift of four Tigers errors into a victory. Ivan Nova allowed six runs and 11 hits in 6„ innings, staying in longer than he should have because of a taxed bullpen, which also failed.
Anderson was in a better mood before the game than after, joking he threw the bat to help out the Sox’ batboy.
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The Royals believed they were being shown up, and Keller retaliated by hitting Anderson in the butt with a pitch his next time up.
Talk-show hosts, both national and local, weighed in from everywhere. Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk also chimed in on Twitter:
“Guys are getting a little excessive on pimping HRs, on meaningless HRs too. Act like you have done it before, one time.”
To which Anderson replied: “Put a name on so we can see who you talking bout brah.”
Sox manager Rick Renteria, 57, embraces some old-school values but said Anderson was guilty of nothing.
“He plays with a lot of heart and emotion, and I’m sure if he was on anybody else’s team, they’d love to have him, too,” Renteria said. “He’s our guy, and I want him to have fun, and he’s going to continue to have fun.”
Anderson and Renteria say his bat flip was on the level because it was all directed at his teammates, not the Royals.
“That’s what my teammates want,” he said. “It brings a lot of spark to the team and a lot of energy.
“I never looked at one of their players when I hit it. I just looked in our dugout and threw the bat. It was a bomb. I smoked it, so I got excited. I wanted to help the batboy out a little bit, so I threw it to him.”
Not every player shared Grichuk’s take. Grichuk’s Jays teammate Marcus Stroman — who exchanged words with Anderson after striking him out in 2017, sparking a bench-clearing incident — said, “I could care less if someone pimps a homer off me. I gave it up. Showing emotion is part of the game.”
Reds pitcher Amir Garrett tweeted that baseball players have thin skin compared to other athletes and “couldn’t survive playing another sport.”
Anderson’s skin remains thick.
“I think we are on a new generation, a new wave,” he said. “The game is switching and changing to a lot of younger guys. We are getting it. I think that’s what gets guys going. It’s fun doing stuff like that. It’s fun.”