The Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees have played two series against one another this month, and both of those saw Tim Anderson and Josh Donaldson exchange words over separate incidents.
During the matchup at Guaranteed Rate Field, Anderson took issue with how Donaldson blocked third base and shoved him. Both benches cleared before play resumed. Then during last week’s series at Yankee Stadium, Anderson became angered with Donaldson for calling him ‘Jackie.’
It prompted an MLB investigation that led to the Yankees’ third baseman being suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount. Donaldson denied race was a factor in the Jackie Robinson reference and claimed to have made the comment to Anderson without issue in the past.
Donaldson appealed the one-game suspension but is currently on the COVID-19 injured list. He issued a statement that again expressed an admiration for Anderson and also apologized to the Jackie Robinson family, via Brian Murphy of MLB.com
“First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball,” Donaldson wrote. “I stated over the weekend that I apologized for offending Tim and that it was a misunderstanding based on multiple exchanges between us over the years. My view of that exchange hasn’t changed and I absolutely meant no disrespect. In the past, it had never been an issue and now that it is, we have a mutual understanding.
“I would also like to apologize to Mrs. Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson family for any distress this incident may have caused. Jackie was a true American hero and I hold his name in the highest regard.”
When announcing the suspension, MLB senior vice president of for on-field operations Michael Hill explained, “Regardless of Mr. Donaldson’s intent, the comment he directed toward Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and in poor judgment, particularly when viewed in the context of their prior interactions,”
“In addition, Mr. Donaldson’s remark was a contributing factor in a bench-clearing incident between the teams, and warrants discipline.”
Rachel Robinson, nor any member of the family, has commented on the saga between Anderson and Donaldson.
Why did Tim Anderson compare himself to Jackie Robinson?
Donaldson has claimed the basis of referring to Anderson as ‘Jackie’ stems from the White Sox shortstop likening himself to the Dodgers legend during a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said at the time. “That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game.”
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