The benches cleared during the New York Yankees' 7-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. After the game, White Sox manager Tony La Russa accused Josh Donaldson of the Yankees of directing "a racist comment" at Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson elaborated, saying Donaldson called him "Jackie," which Anderson interpreted as a reference to Jackie Robinson, the pioneering Hall of Famer who integrated Major League Baseball in 1947:
For his part, Donaldson admitted to the remark and claimed it had been a shared joke between Anderson and himself:
Donaldson said he did, indeed, call Anderson “Jackie.” Said it used to be a joke between them.— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) May 21, 2022
Josh Donaldson said that he called Tim Anderson “Jackie,” referring to a 2019 interview in which Anderson told Sports Illustrated that he feels like “today’s Jackie Robinson.”— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) May 21, 2022
Donaldson said that he thought it was an inside joke with Anderson, who took offense.
“Obviously, he deemed it disrespectful,” Donaldson said of the Jackie comment. “And look, if he did, I apologize.”— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) May 21, 2022
The benches initially were emptied following a home-plate confrontation between Donaldson and White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal in the fifth inning:
A brawl was avoided, but Anderson had to be restrained by a pair of teammates. An earlier exchange of words with Donaldson likely precipitated what you saw above. Here's a look at that:
That in turn may have something to do with an incident earlier in this season in Chicago between Anderson and Donaldson:
Back to Saturday, Anderson and Donaldson appeared to briefly exchange words once again in the seventh inning:
The Yankees and White Sox, who have now met five times in the last nine days, will play a doubleheader on Sunday, so this matter may be revisited in some fashion.
The Yankees' win on Saturday pushes them to 29-10 on the season, while the White Sox slip to 19-20.