Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, whose melee-inciting bat flip three weeks ago continues to follow him, told ESPN's The Dan Le Batard Show on Wednesday that he is just trying to draw fans by having fun and isn't worried about how other teams react to him.
"I like to go out and play with a lot of passion because that's fun, and I think that draws attention to the fans and the kids," Anderson said. "You know the kids love it. I'm on deck now, I get from the fans, 'Hey, do the bat flip.' So it's cool stuff, and it's all fun stuff. It's nothing to disrespect anybody. But I think it's a part of the game or it should be."
Not everyone in baseball shares his opinion. Anderson's bat flip after a home run against the Kansas City Royals on April 17 led to him being hit in the backside with a 92 mph fastball one plate appearance later. After Anderson was hit by the pitch, he stepped toward the mound and the benches cleared.
Anderson, 25, said if he broke some unwritten rule, he was unaware of it.
"I don't really know the rules," he said. "There's not any for me. I can't call them dumb because I don't have any. ... Nobody really came to me and said these are the rules, so I really don't know what they are."
A week after the bat flip against the Royals, Anderson hit a walk-off homer to beat the Detroit Tigers 12-11 and punctuated it with a bat flip. He isn't worried that he might get payback for it later.
"I'm not bothered by other teams," he said. "I go in and I'm trying to beat the other teams. I could really care less how they feel about me or how they think of me as a player. But I know my teammates understand me. I'm going to go out every day and give them what I got."
Anderson, 25, has been one of the breakout stars of 2019, batting .331 with 6 home runs, 20 RBIs and an American League-leading 12 stolen bases and doing it all his own way.
He recently told Sports Illustrated: "I kind of feel like today's Jackie Robinson. That's huge to say. But it's cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I'm getting to a point to where I need to change the game."
That comment earned him some criticism, but he brushes that off as well.
"When I said it, I was saying it in a jokingly way," he said. "I had said that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. I was saying that I feel like Jackie Robinson, I need to break the fun barrier. And I think that kind of got pulled out and thrown into the main topic of things. The people that know me kind of understand me. And I don't think I really have to explain anything to the people that don't understand me."
"I'm not really logged into the baseball world. I try to stay away from it. You know I play the game, but that's about it, I leave it at that," Anderson said, adding with a laugh. "Man, it's a boring sport."