TA: Donaldson knew what he was doing with 'Jackie' comment originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Tim Anderson heard Josh Donaldson try to explain it away.
Donaldson calling the White Sox' shortstop "Jackie" — in reference to Jackie Robinson — during Saturday's game in New York? According to the Yankees third baseman, that was nothing more than an inside joke between the two.
"In the first inning I called him 'Jackie.' Let me give you a little context," Donaldson told reporters. "2019, he (Anderson) came out with an interview saying he's the new Jackie Robinson of baseball, he's gonna bring back fun for the game, right? And 2019, when I played for Atlanta, we actually joked about that during a game... Not in any manner than just joking around."
Well, Anderson, Tony La Russa and the rest of the White Sox' clubhouse interpreted it differently. Anderson and La Russa went so far as to term the comment racist on the evening of the incident. Later, Liam Hendriks contended an inside joke is impossible to have between people who have long been at odds.
And Anderson, speaking to reporters ahead of Tuesday's home matchup with the Red Sox, clarified the context of his past interactions with Donaldson.
"In 2019, I know he did. He did say that," Anderson said when asked if Donaldson has ever referred to him as "Jackie" in the past. "(In 2019) I told him that we don't ever have to talk again. I won't speak to you, you won't speak to me if that's how you're gonna refer to me. And I know he knew exactly what he was doing (on Saturday), because I already told him.
"He goes to Minnesota, you know, two, three years, don't say nothing to me because I already addressed it... And he felt the need to say it again. But, you know, he's trying to provoke me. And he knew what he was doing."
Asked what he made of Donaldson trying to pass the interaction off as a light-hearted one, Anderson was blunt.
"Nothing. I could care less," he said. "I know the truth. I know what it is."
Neither Donaldson nor the Yankees, according to Anderson, have reached out in the aftermath of the incident to express remorse — although MLB did pass down a one-game suspension that Donaldson plans to appeal.
In the eyes of Anderson, La Russa and, presumably, the rest of the clubhouse, that's fine. Their stance on the incident, which spawned multiple verbal altercations and even a bench-clearing during the game, is well-documented.
Now, the focus shifts to carrying the momentum from the White Sox' ultimate series victory.