Royals pitcher ejected for hitting Tim Anderson in helmet; White Sox shortstop gets last laugh

I think this is Tim Anderson vs. the Royals, Part III, but it's possible we could get up to five or six, depending upon how we break things up. The biggest one being the dustup from April 17. Anyway, yes, there was more drama involving the Royals and fiery White Sox shortstop. 

Anderson was clipped with this pitch from Royals starter Glenn Sparkman on the helmet. 

Given the extensive history of bad blood between Anderson and the Royals, the umpire was left with pretty much no choice but to eject Sparkman. 

HOWEVER!

Sparkman's first pitch of the plate appearance to Anderson was a 93.4 mph fastball. It was in, but not excessively so. That pitch was 85.5 mph. Read Sparkman's lips in the above video. "That was a changeup." Yes, it was. 

I still don't think we can blame the umpire for not having the pitch recognition and instead go with the realization that this is Tim Anderson vs. the Royals, quickly becoming the biggest player vs. team blood feud in baseball. With the pitch being up around the head, that's an auto-eject. 

I also think the fact that it was an offspeed pitch might help Sparkman when it comes to being judged by Joe Torre in the league office regarding a possible suspension and/or fine. The league routinely includes the word "intentionally" when issuing press releases to suspend pitchers for hitting batters. If they rule based upon the circumstances here that there's no intent, perhaps Sparkman will be spared. 

Regardless, Anderson still had the last laugh. With two outs and a tie game in the eighth, Anderson came through in the clutch to set up his team for the victory. 

That's a three-game sweep for the White Sox, who are 26-29 on the year, which includes a 6-3 mark against the Royals. 

Like how he plays or not -- and I love it -- the 25-year-old Anderson appears to be in the midst of a real-deal breakout. He's hitting .337/.372/.508 this season.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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