New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson received a one-game suspension and undisclosed fine on Monday for what Major League Baseball described as “inappropriate comments” made to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson during Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium. described.
“There is no dispute over what was said on the field,” Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations, said in a statement. “Despite Mr. Donaldson’s intent, the remarks he made toward Mr. Anderson were disrespectful and in poor judgment, especially when viewed in the context of his previous conversations.
“Furthermore, Mr Donaldson’s remarks were a contributing factor in a bench-clearing incident between the teams and warrant discipline.”
Donaldson has chosen to appeal.
Donaldson was running between second and third base when the third inning ended after a flyout from Isiah Kinner-Falefa, when Anderson said Donaldson “made a derogatory remark.”
“Basically I tried to say Jackie Robinson: ‘What’s up, Jackie? Anderson said on Saturday. “He made the comment and it was insulting and I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary.”
Donaldson and Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal exchanged words before Donaldson’s fifth inning bat, and the benches were cleared.
Donaldson admitted after the game, “I called him Jackie,” later adding: “I thought it was a joke between him and me because we’ve talked about it before. … He called himself Jackie Robinson.” So I thought it was funny between us.”
Donaldson referred to a 2019 Sports Illustrated article that surfaced shortly after news of Anderson’s bat flip and subsequent plunking against the Kansas City Royals.
The “have-fun barrier” is discussed in the article.
“I feel like the Jackie Robinson of today,” Anderson said in the article. “That’s too big to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I think I’m getting to the point where I need to change the game.”
Anderson later expanded, telling reporters on May 1, 2019: “It’s just that I’m trying to have fun – and they don’t want me to have fun. So I think when you bring excitement to the game And it’s good if you bring something different. I think I bring something different to the game, and that’s a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm.”
Donaldson said on Saturday: “I mean by no means a word trying to be racist by any means. It was just out of an interview. … just trying to defuse it, like to light up, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to start a controversy or anything like that.’ Obviously he believed it was disrespectful and I apologize if he did. I was not trying to do that in any way.”
On Sunday, Sox close Liam Hendrix said Donaldson’s interpretation was “absolute bull (sleep).”
Saturday’s bench-clearing incident was the second between teams this season.
At the Guaranteed Rate field on May 13, the Sox loaded the base with one of the first. Gavin Sheets hit and Yankees catcher Jose Trevino threw in third to try to get Anderson.
Anderson made it through a dive, but Donaldson, playing third, tried to push him off base. The benches and dugouts were cleaned for some time.