Fans can’t get enough of White Sox star Tim Anderson, and he’s willing to give
Anderson speaks about his platform, his contract, manager Tony La Russa and the White Sox’ ‘‘TA7’’ documentary.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is an open book, turning pages with each passing year as he matures as a player, as a man and as a face-of-the-franchise personality.
The bat-flipping Anderson fans came to love? The one who actually ran a bat-flip clinic at SoxFest? That might be a Tim of the past. Maybe, maybe not.
‘‘I don’t have to do all that,’’ Anderson told the Sun-Times. ‘‘Go back and look at my game the last three years. My game speaks for itself. Three years in a row, it’s been consistent.’’
Anderson, 28, won a batting title in 2019, won a Silver Slugger and got MVP votes in 2020 and was an All-Star in 2021.
His energy and swagger were as evident as ever last season, but chucking bats after home runs was taken down a notch.
‘‘What do I have to do that for?’’ he said. ‘‘It was a point, it was a moment and it was cool. I don’t have to flip the bat every time. If I feel it in the moment, I will. But I don’t have to.’’
Anderson has grown to respect 77-year-old manager Tony La Russa, who is no fan of the flip. He didn’t flip as much in La Russa’s first season in his second stint as the Sox’ skipper, but he said it had nothing to do with his Hall of Fame manager.
‘‘I told Tony when he first got here, ‘I’m not going to change anything because of you,’ ’’ Anderson said. ‘‘Because if I change for you, then you’re not going to get 100% out of me. And that’s going to suck because I’m acting like I’m something I’m not.’’
La Russa is cool with that.
‘‘I know he is, I know he is,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘He’s on whatever I’m on. He knows I’m not going to do anything to make him look bad or make the organization look bad. I’m mature enough . . . to handle my business like you guys have seen for three years, how I represent myself.’’
How Anderson represents himself, markets his brand and builds his fan base is a big deal to him. He is busy on social media, has his own YouTube channel and is active in the community with wife Bria. A father of two girls, he and his family live in the south suburbs year-round.
The Sox also are promoting their biggest star. On Tuesday, they will release ‘‘TA7: The Story of Tim Anderson,’’ a five-part documentary series exploring Anderson’s baseball journey, on their YouTube channel.
‘‘It’s pretty dope,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘It’s going to be pretty cool, giving a chance for people to get in-depth with things I’ve been through.’’
There are interviews with Anderson, Sox vice president Ken Williams, Bo Jackson, Anderson’s family — where he had a challenged upbringing in Alabama — and his high school coach.
‘‘It’s kind of good to hear from other people to see the journey I’ve been on and understand, know what kind of person I am,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘Hopefully [viewers] will understand me a little bit better.’’
While the Sox produced this one, so much of Anderson’s brand is built on sending his own message. He takes pride knowing it’s authentic.
‘‘Nothing is fake,’’ he said. ‘‘Everything I tweet is realistic, maybe a song, maybe off my feelings. Everything I post is in the moment, some content I shot that really fits me. I bring my best energy to it, and it will echo around the room where I’m at. Now there are more fans, and those fans are going to tell everyone else: ‘Man, he’s so cool. Like, he’s real.’ ’’
Anderson said it would be cool to be with the Sox well beyond his six-year, $25 million contract that will pay him $9.5 million this season. There are club options of $12.5 million and $14 million in 2023 and 2024, bargains in the market for top shortstops.
He said he is more than open to a contract extension but said he is unaware of any such discussions going on.
‘‘I don’t know. Have you heard anything?’’ he said. ‘‘That would be nice. Maybe if I get a new deal, I can have some more kids. I can’t afford them right now.’’
Anderson laughed his infectious laugh. He said he had no regrets about signing his current deal well before he hit free agency.
‘‘I ain’t mad,’’ he said. ‘‘It was a good deal, a win-win. I’m still able to enjoy life. And just play.
‘‘I think I performed up to it, so hopefully I get some more. So we’ll see.’’