In the weeks following the bat flip, the plunking and the benches clearing, Keller caught tons of heat from South Siders on social media. But he was surprised he didn't get a more negative reaction the next time he came to Guaranteed Rate Field.
Keller drilled Anderson on April 17 and pitched at the corner of 35th and Shields a month later, May 28. He was expecting White Sox fans to let him have it. But apparently he didn't hear much.
"I get tagged in everything (on social media," Keller said during an appearance on The Charity Stripe podcast. "I got called every name under the sun after that, cuss words that I didn't even know what they were. They were just ripping me to shreds.
"But what was so funny is when we went back to Chicago, I didn't get booed, I didn't get called anything when I ran out to the mound. Nothing happened. For them being so passionate and loyal on social media, there was nothing at the game. I was expecting full-on (cursing and screaming). I was ready for it.
"In the visitor's bullpen (at Guaranteed Rate Field), there's a bar like underneath us just to the right. There's like a screen. You can't see in it, but they can see you. I was fully expecting, because everyone's drunk down there - it's kind of a sick place to watch a game - I was fully expecting for people to just wear me out. And there was crickets.
"One dude said one thing, and the girl he was with smacked the shit out of him, like I could hear it from the bullpen. It was hilarious. So I was fully expecting everything to come out. Nothing really happened."
Now, while this is almost sure to rev White Sox fans' engines even more for the next time they're able to greet Keller on the South Side, it also serves as a nice lesson in treating your fellow human beings with respect, especially online. Keller didn't get the same treatment at the park he did on social media because the things people say on social media are things they'd rarely say to someone's face. And that's as good an indication as any that they shouldn't be said at all.
Keller, too, could maybe use a reminder, not for what he said but what he did: throwing a projectile at another person because he didn't like the way he celebrated. It goes all ways.
However, such lessons are unlikely to completely spare Keller the next time he pitches in front of fans at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Under Major League Baseball's proposed altered schedule for a shortened 2020 season, the White Sox would face the Royals 13 times. That's fewer games than during a normal season, but it's a much greater percentage of the schedule. Almost 16 percent of the White Sox games would come against the Royals.
But it's also expected that those games will be played in empty stadiums. So Keller will likely hear those same "crickets" if he pitches on the South Side this season.
As for 2021? It will probably be a little louder.
Royals' Brad Keller expected boos from White Sox fans but heard 'crickets' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago