Give Tim Anderson a stage and watch him perform.
The White Sox shortstop rose to the occasion in his first postseason last October, and we watched him steal the show with an RBI double and walk-off home run in the Field of Dreams game Thursday.
Soon, there will be another playoff experience. This time, Anderson wants it all. He can visualize it unfolding already.
“I try to think positive and envision myself having success all the time,” Anderson told the Sun-Times this week.
Like, in the World Series?
“Yes,” Anderson said, “to hold that trophy up at the end and celebrate it with the rest of the guys is going to be dope.”
The Sox celebrated the franchise’s first postseason appearance in 12 years last season, but there was no celebrating in October. They were a one-and-done entry in the playoffs, losing a best-of-three wild-card series to the Athletics. Anderson slumped at the end of the season, but he cranked it up when it mattered most, going a blistering 9-for-14 with two doubles in the three games in Oakland.
“Those are the moments you want to be in,” he said.
On an off day before the series, Anderson identified what was wrong and made an adjustment. It’s something the 28-year-old All-Star couldn’t have done as a rookie in 2016, but he’s a smarter hitter now who takes notes, with a 2019 batting title and the best average in the game since the beginning of that year to prove it.
“I try to be a student of the game and learn my stuff,” he said. “The best part of the game is hitting. Why wouldn’t you want to learn how to hit? I study my craft and write down my ideas, write down what I’m doing when I’m feeling good. When you’re not feeling good, I go back to that, and it helps bring me back to where I need to be.”
The Sox’ face of the franchise demonstrated again Thursday that no moment is too big.
“He’s the man on our team,” coach Miguel Cairo said. “What a leader.”
While many Sox fans were unhappy that he didn’t get to bat in his first All-Star Game in July, Anderson rolled with it.
“Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to,” he said.
And sometimes they do, like on the national stage Thursday.
“These big games like this, this is the time to show up,” Anderson said after the game.
Barring a major collapse, there are more big ones to follow for the Sox in another postseason.
“Good chance to show people around the world what you can do and what type of player you are,” Anderson said. “I like those moments. I embrace them.”
The sight of the A’s, in town for four games starting Monday, will bring back a bad memory. Losing that playoff series didn’t sit well.
“It was a small sample but a good chance for everyone to get a small taste of it,” Anderson said. “Now we’re hungry and we want to go back. We want more. It’s no secret. We’re trying to build a championship.”
Anderson was drafted and developed by the Sox, and signing a pre-arbitration, six-year, $25 million contract in 2017 that goes through next season plus two club option years ($12.5 million for 2023 and $14 million for 2024) cemented the near future for him in Chicago. His family lives in the south suburbs, and he told the Sun-Times he wants nothing more than another deal that would extend him beyond his current contract.
“That’s definitely what I want,” he said. “I want to be here, for sure. Hopefully we can get something done where I can stay till I’m done with it [playing].”
Whatever big moments are left, Anderson wants them all in a Sox uniform.
“I’m homegrown,” he said. “I know everyone in the organization. I’ve built relationships with everybody from top to bottom. It’s like family. I’m at home here.”