The benches cleared in the Bronx Saturday after White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal and Yankees designated hitter Josh Donaldson had a heated conversation at home plate during the bottom of the fifth inning.
As the two teams began to engage with one another, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had to be escorted off the field by third base coach Joe McEwing and designated hitter Jose Abreu. Anderson said after the game, in which New York won 7-5, that Donaldson made a disrespectful comment towards him. Donaldson made the comment after rounding second base during the bottom of the third inning.
Donaldson admitted that he called Anderson “Jackie,” during the first inning, in reference to a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated where Anderson described himself as feeling like “today’s Jackie Robinson.” Donaldson apologized for the comment and said he meant no disrespect. Anderson, who is Black, said he took offense to the comment.
“He just made a disrespectful comment,” Anderson said. “Basically he was trying to call me Jackie Robinson. ‘What’s up, Jackie?’ I don’t play like that. I don’t really play at all. I wasn’t really going to bother nobody today, but he made the comment and you know it was disrespectful and I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said after the game that the comment was “racist.” ESPN reports that MLB is looking into the matter and speaking to all the relevant parties involved.
“He made a racist comment, Donaldson, and that’s all I’m going to say. That’s as strong as it gets,” La Russa said.
Asked if he agreed with his manager’s assessment, Anderson said he did.
“Same. Same. Along that same line,” Anderson said.
This isn’t the first time that the two have had their issues with one another on the field. Both the White Sox and Yankees’ benches cleared during their game on May 13, when Anderson objected to a hard tag by Donaldson at third base. Donaldson said Saturday that he was “trying to defuse” any lingering tension resulting from the earlier incident.
Grandal, who began jawing at Donaldson when he came to the plate before the benches cleared, said Donaldson’s behavior was “unacceptable.”
“This game went through a period in time where a lot of those comments were meant, and I think we’re way past that,” Grandal said. “And it’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow and I want to make sure I’ve got my team’s back. There’s no way that you’re allowed to say something like that.”
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