White Sox star Tim Anderson lands RBI Baseball 21 cover

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

White Sox star Tim Anderson gains video game immortality

Tim Anderson, the controversial and fun-loving shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, added an honor to his collection Thursday when it was announced he would grace the cover of this year’s installment of the RBI Baseball video game franchise.

The 27-year-old has played four full seasons for the White Sox and has already copped a batting title in 2019 and led the American League in runs scored last season with 45 in just 49 games.

Anderson is on the vanguard of baseball’s new generation, young players who — gasp!!! — actually seem to enjoy what they are doing out there while ignoring many of the sport’s archaic unwritten rules.

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The young star gained national notoriety in April 2019 after a prodigious home run off Kansas City Royals pitcher Brad Keller.

Of course, Keller didn’t like it and tried to send a message during Anderson’s next plate appearance.

I may be old-school, but I’ve always been with Anderson on this one. If a pitcher doesn’t want to get shown up after serving up a bomb that takes two weeks to land, maybe fix your location instead of blaming the guy who cooked your weak stuff.

The White Sox seem to agree, adopting Anderson’s “change the game” mantra as their slogan.

Anderson used that phrase in a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, an interview in which he said the game needed to lighten up and let players be people.

"“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson. That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game.”"

It appears Major League Baseball — at least on the marketing side — agrees with Anderson, who was stoked to be on the cover.

Per NBC Sports Chicago’s Vinnie Duber, Anderson raved about the excitement of being on a video-game cover in the announcement of this year’s version of the game.

"“Like a lot of kids, I grew up playing video games. When I couldn’t get outside to play ball or we had bad weather, that was a time to have fun with my friends and live out some fantasies. And it was always cool to see who was on the cover every year — those were guys I aspired to be.“So now to see myself on the cover of RBI 21 is really part of a dream come true. And I hope that kids will see my picture on the cover and realize they can do this, too. They just have to believe in themselves, follow their dreams and work at it.”"

Anderson has become the face of a White Sox team that made the playoffs in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade, teaming with veteran first baseman Jose Abreu — last year’s American League MVP — as cornerstones of a team many see as a favorite in the AL in 2021.

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And he’s doing it his way, making the game more fun in the process.