Two days ago, White Sox 1B/DH Adam LaRoche announced his abrupt retirement from baseball after 12 major league seasons citing “personal matters”.
Yesterday we found out that LaRoche retired due to White Sox executive Kenny Williams asking him to “dial it back” in regards to bringing his son Drake LaRoche into the clubhouse this season.
In the last 24 hours there has been a whirlwind of reaction to the news out of Glendale, Arizona regarding the LaRoche retirement ranging from agreement, to mild concern for clubhouse chemistry, and even some downright angry at the decision by Kenny Williams.
Today reports surfaced that a few White Sox players were not pleased with Williams’ decision to limit 13 year-old Drake LaRoche from being in the clubhouse every day. Another report even surface stating that White Sox ace Chris Sale verbally scolded Kenny Williams, essentially telling him that he in fact does not belong in the clubhouse, and that he needs to leave, and not return.
I have a couple “bones to pick” per say with this whole situation. First and foremost, as I stated in my article yesterday when the news broke, Kenny Williams was 100 percent correct in his decision. He is the boss, like it or not he is the boss. It’s his responsibility to ensure that this team, and this group of players play to potential and succeed in the 2016 season, and beyond. If Williams thought that not having a 13 year-old boy in the clubhouse on a daily basis was something that needed to change to ensure total concentration by his players, then he did exactly what he should have done.
As much as baseball is a game, and a sport, for these men in that clubhouse it is their profession. They are career baseball players, they make millions of dollars every year playing the game that they love at the highest level of competition.
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In any profession in this country, it is not acceptable to bring your child to your workplace with you on a daily basis. baseball should be no exception to that rule. Millions of parents have to pay for child care costs every day, so that they can go to work to provide for their families. While Adam LaRoche certainly would have no issue with the cost of child care with his $13 Million dollar per year salary, that was not why he had his son Drake with him either.
Drake has been around Adam in the clubhouse dating as far back as 2011 when he was playing for the Washington Nationals, there was a story in the Washington Post at the time in which Adam stated that he was “not big on the idea of school”, and that he instead had Drake in school during the winter, and seeing a tutor from spring training on.
It’s not my place to judge another parent on how they raise their children, I certainly would not allow someone to scrutinize me in the same respect. It’s also not my intention, I have no ill will towards Adam LaRoche, nor do I hold any judgement towards him in regards to the way he feels his son should receive his education. That is not relevant to the issue at hand here these past few days, despite the general public’s attempt to make it front and center.
Everyone wants to decide who is “right”, and who is “wrong” in the situation. Truth be told, no one was wrong in this situation. Kenny Williams was not wrong to expect as an employer, that his employee report to work every day without his minor child in the workplace. In the same respect, Adam LaRoche was not wrong in choosing to walk away from $13 Million dollars, as well as the game of baseball rather than lose time spent with his teenage son. The players were also not wrong in being upset that they were losing a respected veteran teammate as a result of the conflicting opinions.
No one was wrong in the matter, with maybe the exception of Chris Sale allegedly bordering insubordination with his employer in regards to who belongs in the clubhouse versus who does not. Even with that being said, tempers flared, and the situation escalated rapidly over the past 24 hours.
Now comes the most important part of the whole situation…Moving on! It’s over folks, LaRoche is retiring, Williams is limiting clubhouse distractions, and now the players need to move on and refocus on the task at hand, and that is winning. This group of players have all been quoted saying the past few weeks, that the vibe is electrifying, and that the feeling around camp is that this could be a special season. If this small series of events takes the ship so far of course that they are not able to successful in 2016, then each and everyone in that locker room will have failed to do their job as professional athletes….WIN.