Taylor: Loss, for words — Tim Anderson’s suspension

From Shakeia Taylor at Baseball Prospectus on April 24, 2019:

Friday afternoon, as Tim Anderson gushed to Laurence Holmes in a pre-recorded interview about his love of baseball and his desire to help expand its audience, news of his one-game suspension hit social media.

Initially, some people assumed that Anderson was suspended for his bat flip, but soon learned it was due to “foul language.” ESPN’s Jeff Passan shared via Twitter that Anderson was suspended for his use of the n-word. Anderson directed it at someone who was not Black. Within context, it was nothing more than an insult hurled at someone who had thrown a ball at him for celebrating a home run.

Hitting a home run off of a professional pitcher is no small feat. It’s not easy. If it were, there would be a helluva lot more homers (even in the context of the current ball) and the 1998 home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa wouldn’t have entertained millions and “saved the game of baseball.”  Hitting a baseball is famously difficult; if you fail 70 percent of the time, you’re an All-Star. So when you do the best thing possible at the plate — hit a home run — it is a cause for celebration and joy, with bat flips, fist pumps, and passionate screams. But that joy is met with ire and, in many cases violence. Anderson was expected to readily accept the punishment for “embarrassing a pitcher.” He was expected to be silent. He wasn’t. Tim Anderson’s words weren’t of racial aggression, they were an angry retort to someone who had acted cowardly, weak.

Read the full article here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/48751/prospectus-feature-loss-for-words-tim-anderson-suspension/

Originally published: April 25, 2019. Last Updated: April 25, 2019.