White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson referred to himself as the modern day Jackie Robinson in a 2019 Sports Illustrated article, referencing his desire to break the "fun-barrier" in baseball and now-Yanks' Third Baseman Josh Donaldson has busted his chops about it in recent years by calling him "Jackie." It's kind of wild for Tim Anderson to compare himself to Jackie Robinson (hence the joke) but it's also wild of Josh Donaldson to think calling a black player "Jackie" might not bubble up at some point, now here we are.
During Saturday's White Sox/Yankees game, Donaldson made the "Jackie" remark again but Anderson was not in the mood and all benches cleared after a confrontation between Donaldson and White Sox Catcher Yasmani Grandal. Anderson must have felt that Donaldson made the joke one too many times and now we have a situation.
ESPN spent at least half of last night's Sunday Night Baseball broadcast between the Yanks and ChiSox discussing the issue and how it should be handled, including potential suspensions. The modern climate has become so intense that there seems to become an immediate protocol and talking points if something like this happens. If it's up to me, JD and Tim hash it out instead of doing it through the media but I'm totally expecting at least a one game suspension from Major League Baseball.
It's hard not to sound biased (or racist) on this topic, being that I'm a Yankee fan who has recognized the edge Josh Donaldson has brought to the team's clubhouse this season. The Yanks are 29-12 and Donaldson has brought a presence, a swagger that seems to have rubbed off on the rest of the locker room. The way JD approaches the game and how it's meshed with the clubhouse is one of the reasons why GM Brian Cashman was willing to take on $50M of salary for him at 36 years old.
Team chemistry is real, but it will be interesting to see if this altercation will have an effect on things going forward as the Yanks are 0-2 (swept in double header by White Sox) since this took place. Tim Anderson even got the last laugh last night, hitting a 3-run HR to ice the game. This felt like gamesmanship.