After White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hit his first career walk-off home run Friday, he purposely chucked his bat toward his team’s dugout at Guaranteed Rate Field.
And, just to be clear, he didn’t do it to help the batboy out.
‘‘I knew I had to do it,’’ Anderson said after the Sox’ 12-11 victory against the Tigers. ‘‘It’s different. I did it again to let the people know it wasn’t a fluke. It was definitely a great moment.’’
Anderson’s bat flip just might be his new signature celebration. His latest stunt came a little more than a week after he sent the baseball world into a frenzy with his bat flip against the Royals.
In that game, Anderson flipped his bat after hitting a homer against Royals pitcher Brad Keller. Later in the game, Keller retaliated by hitting Anderson with a pitch. That led to a benches-clearing brawl that resulted in a one-game suspension for Anderson and a five-game suspension for Keller.
Because of what happened last time, Anderson said he added more emphasis to the throw Friday.
‘‘I got excited, man,’’ Anderson said, smiling. ‘‘I actually threw a changeup this time.’’
Anderson has been adamant that he isn’t going to change for anyone and that he’s not about to apologize for whom he is. He always has been passionate about the game, but he is beaming with newfound confidence this season.
Friday was a perfect example of that. With two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning, Anderson knocked the first pitch right-hander Joe Jimenez threw into the left-field bleachers.
‘‘I knew he was going to go first-pitch slider,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘I’ve faced that guy a bunch of times. I kind of knew he was going to go to that pitch, and I was ready for it.
‘‘Those are the moments we prepare for. I always want to be in that moment.’’
Anderson’s self-assurance stems from the fact that he’s off to the best start of his career at the plate. He is slashing .402/.422/.632 and has five homers, 16 RBI and a 1.054 OPS. His batting average was the best in the American League and the second-best in the majors through Friday. He also has 10 stolen bases.
Anderson extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 4-for-6 with a double and the winning homer Friday. It was the fifth time this season he has had three or more hits, matching his total from 2018.
Asked what’s different this season compared to last, Anderson said: ‘‘I’m having a lot more fun than I was last season, and the numbers are better.’’