Among the first of many questions asked when Tony La Russa, 76, became the manager of the Chicago White Sox in the early days of baseball's offseason was how he would fare with the players on the roster given his, let's call them, old school sensibilities. That old school sensibility includes things like not flipping your bat when you hit a home run.
Well, White Sox star Tim Anderson's electrifying style at the plate (read as: beautiful bat flips) has brought him national attention. While it's not clear exactly how the two will mix in the clubhouse, one thing is for certain: Anderson isn't going to stop being himself as he plays the sport he loves.
"I won't change my style, the way I play, for Tony," Anderson told the Associated Press while laughing. "That won't happen. I will continue to be me. I always have and I always will be. We'll see what happens, I guess if I do do a bat flip."
Anderson, the 2019 AL batting champion, has backed up his talk with his talent on the field -- as the aforementioned award shows. But that doesn't mean his opponents have been cool with it. The standout example happened last year in a series with the Royals when a benches-clearing scuffle broke out when the shortstop was hit by a pitch because of the way he celebrate a home run earlier in the game.
Anderson is also well aware of the narrative building over potential conflict within the team about the addition of La Russa. But he hopes to put all that in the past and bring a championship to the organization for the first time since 2005.
"There's been a lot of news saying that we might not get along," Anderson said. "Hopefully, we can get along and continue to do what the ultimate goal is — to try to win a championship on the South Side. I'm just ready to pick his brain and learn the knowledge. ... Just try to have fun with it — if he allows that.
"I'm gonna ask him, 'How much have you been reading? You know, a lot of people have been saying we're not gonna get along.' So I'm gonna ask him, 'Why do you think that?' I'm excited about it. Hopefully, we can turn this negative around into a positive. Keep moving, keep enjoying the game and keep having fun with it. You can't get sidetracked with what the ultimate goal is."