No arguing this: Donaldson's actions woke up White Sox
The great debate.
That's what Josh Donaldson started when he twice called Tim Anderson "Jackie" during Saturday's White Sox-Yankees game in New York.
Was it a racist remark?
Anderson certainly thought so, although he stopped short of saying it and characterized Donaldson's chiding as "disrespectful."
Sox manager Tony La Russa did not stop short on Donaldson.
"He made a racist comment," La Russa said.
Predictably, there are two opinions on the dispute, with Donaldson and his side arguing the Jackie Robinson jabs were only a joke, an "inside joke" with Anderson.
Major League Baseball was the latest to disagree with Donaldson, suspending the Yankees' third baseman for one game and issuing a fine.
Donaldson, who landed on the COVID-19 Restricted list Monday, is appealing.
Agree to disagree, whatever.
But one thing is beyond argument, if that's even possible in these times of toxic conflict.
Donaldson actually did the White Sox a favor. He woke up a team that's been slumbering since rolling out of the gates with a 6-2 record.
The Sox swept a doubleheader at New York Sunday and they are back above the .500 mark at 21-20.
In Game 2, Anderson capped the decisive 5-run eighth inning with a 3-run homer, silencing a Yankee Stadium crowd that was booing him earlier in the game.
"That was one of the cooler things I've seen, watching an entire crowd showing low class to him, booing him, calling him Jackie and all that stuff and then hitting a homer to put us in position to win," said starting pitcher Michael Kopech, who was brilliant for the White Sox in Sunday's nightcap. "I have nothing but respect for him."
Anderson is the unquestioned leader of the White Sox, and it was nice to see his teammates offering full support after Donaldson's remarks.
It started with catcher Yasmani Grandal, who got in Donaldson's face when he came to the plate in the fifth inning Saturday.
"We're a family," Anderson told reporters. "We take care of each other. You know, it's all love in our locker room. We don't really deal with crazy things like that, we try to keep it away from our vibes and what we've got going on. But they stepped up and had my back and showed how connected we really are."
Liam Hendriks also came to Anderson's aid. In 2015, he was teammates with Donaldson on the Blue Jays and never cared for his company.
Donaldson said calling Anderson "Jackie" was an inside joke. Hendriks addressed that contention on Sunday.
"That's completely inappropriate, and then after hearing what was said after the game, usually you have inside jokes with the people you get along with, not people that don't get along at all," Hendriks said. "So that statement right there was complete bull(bleep). But, then again, my feelings toward the individual in question are pretty well documented that we don't get along.
"I've now spoken to, I think it's four separate clubhouses that he's been in and, as a whole, none of them got along. So, him trying to whip out that narrative is complete and utter bull(bleep). It's just straight delusional."
For the White Sox, Donaldson's antics are also straight motivation.