Tim Anderson has never had a problem speaking his mind. On Thursday he stoked the flames of the White Sox-Twins rivalry with some bulletin board material.
Flash back a thirteen years. With one out in the fifth inning, Minnesota Twins third baseman Brendan Harris lofted a popup to short center field. Michael Cuddyer waited in anticipation, tagging up at third base. His intentions were clear, break the scoreless deadlock in game 163 of the 2008 MLB regular season. The White Sox and Twins were fighting for their playoff lives. Each had an identical 88-74 record. The winner of this game would take the AL Central title and punch their ticket to the postseason, the loser would watch from home.
White Sox center fielder Ken Griffey Jr camped under the ball. As soon as it hit his glove Cuddyer made a mad dash towards the plate as Griffey proceeded to fire a two hooper to catcher AJ Pierzynski. The ball beat Cuddyer, who lowered his shoulder in an attempt to dislodge the ball from Pierzynski and the two tumbled to the dirt. Pierzynski arose from the collision with the ball in hand and waved it in the face of the Cuddyer as the sold out crowd dressed in black went wild.
This moment was the peak of the White Sox-Twins rivalry. Two good teams battling tooth and nail to take the division. The White Sox would go onto win the game 1-0 thanks in part to a Jim Thome solo shot to deep center field.
If you had to pick the White Sox biggest rival in the AL Central most people would point to the Minnesota Twins. The two teams are only separated by 413 miles. Unfortunately since the Blackout Game, the White Sox and Twins have failed to play each other in any truly meaningful games. It is hard to have a rivalry when one team has failed to put a good product on the field for over ten seasons.
However that will soon change. Both teams made the postseason in 2020 and played in some semi-important games in September. Now the division is ripe for the taking. With the Indians, Tigers and Royals all in the midst of a rebuild the only two teams up to the task are the White Sox and Twins. The perfect storm is brewing for the rivalry to reignite. All it needs is for someone to light the match.
Tim Anderson Does Not Hold Back
After each team each got bounced in the Wild Card round last season both teams went to work to add to their stockpiles of talent. The White Sox struck first by trading for Lance Lynn then adding Adam Eaton and Liam Hendriks. The Twins responded by adding J.A Happ, Andrelton Simmons, and former White Sox closer Alex Colomé. They also resigned notorious White Sox killer, Nelson Cruz.
Tim Anderson was unfazed by the Twins new additions and in true TA fashion he was not afraid to voice his opinion.
“Look at the paper, we’re way more athletic than them, and that’s just true facts. But at the end of the day, we know we have to go out and prove it”
We’re going to go head to head and see what happens. But I think we’ve got a good shot of whoopin’ on ’em.”
TA on the Twins: "Look at the paper, we're way more athletic than them, and that's just true facts. But at the end of the day, we know we have to go out and prove it. … We're going to go head to head and see what happens. But I think we've got a good shot of whoopin' on 'em."
— Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) February 22, 2021
This is not the first Tim Anderson has taken a jab at the Twins this offseason. When it was reported that the Twins had signed J.A Happ, Anderson liked Ken Rosenthal tweet announcing the news. Anderson has owned Happ during his career.
If the two teams happened to meet for a football game, the White Sox would definitely have the size and strength advantage. Josh Donaldson and company are no match for Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada. Seeing Miguel Sano and Nelson Cruz battle Lance Lynn, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez in the trenches would be a sight to behold. Unfortunately for Anderson the White Sox will not be awarded any wins based on pure athleticism.
This is also the type of thing that can motivate an opposing team. If you need an example just look at Ju Ju Smith Schuster and Chase Claypool’s comments about the Cleveland Browns before their playoff game. Twins have also had the White Sox number over the past couple of seasons making Anderson’s comments even more disrespectful.
Team Does Not Lack Confidence
Despite the recent lack of success against the Twins, the confidence should not come as a surprise. Their is a long line of people in the White Sox organization talking about World Series expectations. To get to the World Series you first have to get through your division. Anderson made sure everyone knew he was not joking around.
“Just to see the guys we added, we are serious. We are dead serious.”
Left fielder Eloy Jimenez piled on saying, “If last year we were good, this year we’re going to be better.”
Vegas agrees with Anderson as they have the White Sox as favorites to win the division at -143. Meanwhile the Twins are listed at +175. The next chapter of the White Sox-Twins rivalry is about to begin. If this offseason is any indication, it should be the most exciting one yet.