BALTIMORE – This has been a season from the lowest place, for shortstop Tim Anderson and the White Sox collectively.
Space does not permit us to count the ways.
“I know, tell me about it,” Anderson told the Sun-Times Wednesday. “Sometimes things happen, sometimes bad things happen so better things can be pieced back together.”
A former batting champion and two-time All-Star, Anderson is batting .240/.283/.297 after going 1-for-6 with a two-run triple in the Sox’ 10-5 win over the Orioles Wednesday.
Off the field family problems that became public have weighed heavily and fueled unfavorable, disapproving commentary from social media.
Through it all, Anderson believes a higher being is in control of things he can’t control.
“We know who wrote the book, we know who’s in control of the story. The man above,” Anderson said. “So we can’t get caught up in what people say, because life is set up for you to fail. You can’t get caught up in what they say because you lose track of what you’re trying to be.”
Anderson wants to be great. And he believes greatness can be in store next season, which could be his last in a Sox uniform if his $14 million club option is picked up by the team. He also knows he could be traded.
“Out of my control if I’ll be here or not,” he said. “I’m just always looking for an opportunity, and I feel like I’ve answered that question numerous times about where I want to be or need to be or do I want to be. Who cares? It’s not in my control. All I do is keep it simple and just play.
“Just try to enjoy the moment. It don’t matter at this point, just put it like that. It’s a business, right?”
Anderson talked at ease after being one of the first to arrive at Camden Yards Wednesday on the first of two buses taking players from the team hotel, on the morning after a night game. He’s usually one of the first at the park. Managers and coaches have always liked that about him.
“Got to get loose, get going,” Anderson said.
Perhaps this offseason that is a month away will be exceptionally good for him. To reset, clear his brain, be healthy and start fresh in spring training. Anderson spoke of both himself and a team that simultaneously flopped miserably, had its general manager and vice president fired last week, endured clubhouse problems, speculation about the the team moving and a shooting in the Guaranteed Rate Field bleachers just last week.
A new leader of the front office, assistant general manager Chris Getz, is expected to be promoted any day now.
What a year.
“Yeah, for sure,” Anderson said. “Just fresh everything. Change the vibe. A little bit of everything that could be different. Energy. The work, the grind, have to find a way to get that spark back to be great.”
On top of everything else, Anderson was knocked on his rear end by the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez in a fight on Aug. 6. It dazed him, but it hurt his pride and embarrassed him even more.
“Being the best comes with a lot, with tough times like this — hard times,” Anderson said. “Being the joke. It comes with all that. It comes with so much. The average person would have given up on trying to be the best because it’s so hard.”
Anderson’s not giving up. His father was in prison when he grew up in Tuscaloosa, Ala., his best friend, Brandon Moss, was shot and killed six years ago as he came to the aid of an assault victim. This is not Anderson’s first bout with adversity.
“That’s how we witness the things that are happening now, because it’s all set up for better things,” he said. “It’s all mapped out. When times get hard, a lot of people quit, and use different angles, even becoming suicidal, or using drugs if they lose track and it gets to be too much. The whole thing is, stay focused, keep going and understand what track you’re on, understand the mission. It’s way bigger, it’s way bigger. You just have to understand and believe that.”