On August 5, Tim Anderson and José Ramírez got into a fight at second base after a vigorous slide and a hard tag. Despite Ramírez's aggressive reaction and pointing a finger in the defender's face, Anderson received a six-game suspension for the ensuing scuffle. Ramírez initially received just three games and managed to get it down to two. I'm sure everyone reading this knows that, but that's a quick refresher.
Since the incident, my colleagues at South Side Sox and I have noticed a trend: No one is protecting Tim.
This is not justifying the actions that he took on the field. I was on the SSS recap that night, watching the game with my father and grandma, and just kept saying, "Oh no, oh no, oh no." These types of incidents have no place on the field — but also, we know that these players are humans, and we all have emotions.
But I have to say that it's disappointing that a lot of fans have seemingly turned their backs on Anderson.
Across social media, countless people have gotten their takes off about how Anderson is a bad person because of this exchange. According to many, he's a thug and does not respect the game, and the White Sox need to let him go.
But I wonder how these same people would react if this were 2021 when Anderson was an MVP candidate.
We know that fans are likelier to safeguard those they love or respect. We're seeing it right now with how fans and the media have come out to defend Ramírez, despite being the instigator of the brawl and certainly just as much at fault.
In the immediate aftermath of the melee, the media released a story about Yasmani Grandal allegedly slapping Anderson (TA, by the way, was reportedly upset with Grandal itching to leave town early for the All-Star break) and former White Sox players trashing the team culture (those players are probably right, but great timing, guys).
The front office is more focused on insulating the team from ridicule over its bad culture than defending the character of Anderson, who has been the face of the franchise for the better part of five years. Fans are choosing to ignore the extremely difficult past few years that Anderson has gone through; terrible team records on the field, controversy, and tragedy of it. A man who was almost universally loved when at his superstar peak is now the laughingstock of the baseball world in the eyes of many, as he has been injured and in a slump.
So what can be done to help Tim, the human? Maybe he needs a fresh start. Personally, I think he just needs a home instead of a place to stay. Home is where the heart is, and the White Sox certainly don't feel like home for Tim after this past week or season, for that matter.
No one is perfect, and people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. It's not too much to ask if we can all give TA some grace as he gets himself right.