The Royals and White Sox had a brief scuffle Wednesday after Royals pitcher Brad Keller hit White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson in the tush with a pitch in bottom of the sixth inning. The plunking was obvious retaliation for Anderson’s jubilant reaction to a home run he had hit two innings prior, and so everyone got out of the dugouts to yell at each other.
The bench-clearing eventually died down without major incident, although umpire Joe West ejected Anderson, Keller, White Sox manager Rick Renteria, and Royals bench coach Dale Sveum. MLB’s Twitter account even praised Anderson’s exuberance, using his postgame quotes to boost its marketing slogan for the season: “Let the kids play.”
ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that Anderson is one kid who won’t get to play, for one game, because he’s been suspended for calling Keller, who looks like this, a “weak-ass fucking N-word.” (Renteria was also suspended for one game and Keller for five.)
With this move, MLB appears to be joining the “Nobody can say it” camp, which is an unwise but wholly unsurprising development given the league’s failure to attract and develop black players. It also further fleshes out MLB’s mysterious system for measuring the offensiveness of slurs. We now know that a black guy calling a white guy the N-word is half as offensive as someone using homophobic language, five times less offensive than making slant eyes in the dugout, and three times less offensive than writing “Tu eres maricon” on eyeblack.
Update (4:12 p.m.): Anderson told reporters that he will not be appealing the suspension: