‘Walking Away From $13 Million’

“Details about the White Sox/Adam Laroche saga have been trickling in since the story broke last week. Here’s what we think we know: Laroche, who was an atrocious baseball player last season, was asked not to bring his 14-year-old son, Drake, to the clubhouse as much, or at all (details still seem unclear) after a number of his teammates had reportedly complained about the son’s continual presence in the clubhouse, to the team VP Ken Williams. Offended by Williams’ subsequent request, Laroche abruptly decided to retire, leaving $13 million on the table, sparking a nation-wide controversy. INSIDE SPORTS, Walking Away From $13 Million, 800x800“This controversy is overblown and misguided.

“One mediocre baseball player’s retirement story

{This “mediocre baseball player” is coming off his worst season but has hit a career total of 255 home runs, including seasons of 33 and 32. In addition, he has twice batted in 100 runs in a season. While not a ‘star’, these most certainly are not levels attained by a ‘mediocrity’…}

turned into a discussion about fatherhood and family values, which undoubtedly take precedence over things relatively trivial, such as work or sports {Since when is “work” “relatively trivial”? Should we be talking about YOUR ‘privilege’?}. It seems obvious to me that one can agree with the above and have no trouble realizing LaRoche is not some sort of a fatherhood martyr here – rather, a privileged millionaire refusing to take into account anybody’s perspective but his own, and willing to walk away from a life-changing amount of money for playing a game, the moment one serious management decision didn’t go his way.

{It wasn’t a “life-changing amount of money” for LaRoche:
“[He] banked over $71 million in career earnings.”
(See below…) }

“LaRoche wants the public to believe his son’s total involvement in all team activities was a condition of him signing a contract in the first place. But if that were the case, considering baseball has one of the strongest unions in the world, it would have been in writing. Whether or not the two parties had a conversation about the issue ahead of time is really quite irrelevant because a spoken agreement could have only presumed a reasonable presence of a kid in a clubhouse – not a situation in which a 14-year old would be around the team literally 100% of the time and have his own locker. The situation has clearly gotten out of control and the White Sox have had enough.

“A large portion of America empathizes with Laroche and finds it admirable that he would retire in the name of what he believes about fatherhood. But Laroche is retiring based on what he thinks about work, not fatherhood. He sees nothing strange with the fact that he would be able to spend time with his kid while he is at work — all the time. What common American can relate to this situation in a country where there is no legal maternity or paternity leave, childcare facilities costs are through the roof, while even the wealthy in society resort to tactics like preschools in office buildings… Why does any portion of greater America relate to this attitude?

“Why don’t they relate more to the following situation?

“Jose Abreu is the White Sox’ best player. He’s Cuban and because of the ‘political differences’ between his country and the US, in order to fulfill his potential he was forced {by the Cuban Communist dictatorship} to abandon his family, including his 5-year-old son Dariel Eduardo — which doesn’t preclude him from maintaining a close relationship and being actively involved. It’s just a lot more difficult. Performing your duty as a father – calling, advising, raising him – is only a reminder of the exchange he had to make to have his career. When he hit a game-winning grand slam, to the screaming delight of tens of thousands of enthusiasts of America’s pasttime, he quickly retreated to the end of the bench where he cried, because he couldn’t share the moment with his family.

Jose Abreu (USATSI)
Jose Abreu (USATSI)

“Imagine the depth of sadness and guilt that Abreu felt when he walked by Drake’s locker room every single day. It has not been reported who the players who approached Williams about this issue were, so we can’t know if Abreu was involved directly. But from research and reports, it is obvious Jose is a very emotional and family-oriented man — which brings me back to LaRoche, who had a choice of being understanding about the situation. He could have chosen to relate to the needs of his teammates, coaches and management and realized the presence of a minor in a professional setting may adversely affect productivity. He could have thought about the greater good of his son, for whom an environment of professional athletes at the age of 14 may not be the most suitable. But most importantly, he could have taken into account the perspective of the foreign players {? Why? ALL fathers are in the same boat and it’s only a handful of Cubans – because of Communism — who can’t bring their children to live in the U.S.}.

“Laroche is just the latest example of how ‘white privilege’ {???} affects all aspects of society.

{If this fellow followed baseball, he woud be well aware of the ‘Griffey saga’, wherein Ken Griffey, Jr. refused to play for the Yankees during his career because, as the young son of Ken Griffey, Sr. when Senior was a Yankee, the Yankees had refused to give the kid the run of the clubhouse. The Griffeys, of course, are Black…}

Griffey Sr. with Craig Griffey on left and Jr. on the right
Griffey Sr. with Craig Griffey on left and Jr. on the right

“Adam Laroche is not used to having anything taken away from him {And that’s because of his membership in a powerful union of multimillionaires. It has NOTHING to do with skin colour, and EVERYTHING to do with wealth}. And in his own arrogance and ignorance, he failed to notice he had teammates suffering from a struggle infinitely worse than the situation he was offered by the White Sox.

“There are reports that the White Sox locker room is divided over the issue. And speculations have begun that this could be a vague racial division. Another “white Sock”, Adam Eaton, actually said “We lost a leader in Drake”, which highlights these guys’ lack of perspective. Mr. Eaton, Drake wasn’t a leader. He was a 14-year-old little boy that happened to be the son of your buddy. So, instead of making yourself look like a fool in front of the media, you should have walked over to LaRoche in time, and as his teammate and a compassionate human being — paid millions of dollars to win baseball games — you should have pointed to Jose Abreu and reminded LaRoche who the real leader on the team is.

“And maybe, just maybe, the Sox could have reached an understanding that didn’t offend anyone and didn’t make them into the sports laughingstock of the week {It is well-nigh impossible to not offend somebody these days…}.”

–‘ADAM LAROCHE IS NOT AN EXAMPLE OF ADMIRABLE FATHERHOOD – JUST THE LATEST EXAMPLE OF WHITE PRIVILEGE’,
The Go To Guy, March 22, 2016

http://thegotoguy.sportsblog.com/posts/14568681/adam-laroche-is-not-an-example-of-admirable-fatherhood—–just-the-latest-example-of-white-privilege.html

Chicago White Sox' Ken Williams (Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune)
Chicago White Sox’ Ken Williams (Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune)

From Ken Rosenthal:

“Just talked to ‪#‎White‬ Sox president Ken Williams. Here is what he told me about LaRoche:

“There has been no policy change with regards to allowance of kids in the clubhouse, on the field, the back fields during spring training. This young man that we’re talking about, Drake, everyone loves this young man. In no way do I want this to be about him.

“I asked Adam, I said,

‘Listen, our focus, our interest, our desire this year is to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to focus on a daily basis on getting better. All I’m asking you to do with regard to bringing your kid to the ballpark is dial it back.’

“I don’t think he should be here 100% of the time — and he has been here 100%, every day, in the clubhouse. I said that I don’t even think he should be here 50% of the time. Figure it out, somewhere in between.

“We all think his kid is a great young man. I just felt it should not be every day, that’s all. You tell me, where in this country can you bring your child to work every day?

“I respect the man and his decision. I can’t disagree with what (Blaine Boyer) said about Adam as a person. But I take exception to the ‘evil’ part.”

“Boyer said of LaRoche earlier:

“He is an unbelievable husband, an unbelievable father, a friend you can only dream of. I honestly think this is between good and evil…”

https://www.facebook.com/kenrosenthalsports/posts/995697430495988

Photo-Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sport
Photo-Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sport

‘SORRY, ADAM LAROCHE: BASEBALL LOCKER ROOMS AREN’T DAYCARE CENTERS’

“If Adam LaRoche is actually retiring because he can’t have his 14-year-old son Drake trolling in his shadow every minute he spends at a ballpark, then someone needs to smack him in the head with a boat oar.

“Look, I get the sentiment. During my 10-year stint as man-child in a professional baseball uniform, I played with plenty of guys who missed time with their kids. I’ve played with Latin players who left entire families back at home. Hell, I’ve played with Cuban players who didn’t know if they’d ever get to see their families again!

“A life in professional baseball can be a life separated from the people you love. But before you start playing the “Cat’s in The Cradle”, remember that a lot of other jobs take people away from their kids, too. Jobs that pay way less than $13 million-a-year, offer far fewer benefits than a Major League Baseball pension, and don’t put you, your rug-rats, and the woman-or, in some cases, women-who gave birth to them up in five star hotels in a new major city every four nights.

“As such, how about a little perspective, here? So your kid can’t use your locker room as a daycare center. Boo-fucking-hoo. You can’t have it all, Adam, but when you’re a big league baseball player, you can come pretty damn close.

“By the way, I’m not lying when I say that locker rooms become day cares. LaRoche isn’t the first player to have his kid at the park for long stints of time. That’s a common thing in baseball. If you have a little boy who wants to emulate daddy’s greatness, you’re darn toot’n sure that said kid is going to come to the ballpark. And players do get it. We’re not monsters who hate children and families. The baseball world is practically built on father-son relationships, and MLB has a decorated history of fathers passing their torch onto their kids, with big league locker exposure at an early age playing a major role in talent development.

“But let’s not kid ourselves either: children are a distraction. Some of them can be straight-up hellions; sometimes, unruly behavior just the nature of being a child. Other times, it’s not even their faults. Some of these kids running ’round locker rooms were sired by immature prima donnas that wouldn’t know fatherhood if Andy Griffith explained it over a Boy Scout camping trip. These jokers can barely take care of themselves, let alone another human being.

“What does that equation yield? A kid, in the clubhouse, unattended, going through lockers, breaking shit, crying when he’s scolded because he’s never been disciplined before.

“This kind of thing puts the entire team in an awkward situation. If you don’t want that one little maniac running around your locker room every day, slowly getting on everyone’s nerves, then you can’t let anyone else’s kid enjoy the privilege, either. Even if the other kids are well-behaved little cherubs. Why? Because explaining the real reason behind why one kid has access and another doesn’t is not a battle you want to pick. Not with parents in general, and not with big league parents in particular.

“Based on the accounts of LaRoche’s teammates and manager, Drake is a mature, well-behaved kid. And it’s worth noting that the fallout from this has come from White Sox players taking LaRoche’s side against management. That’s why Chris Sale had a Drake LaRoche jersey hanging in his locker on Friday.

“But even the good kids from good families can create unnecessary drama. When I was in the minor leagues, the children of one of our coaches came to visit every summer. They were in the clubhouse for months at a stretch. Early on, they stayed out of our way; but over time, they started taking liberties. Soon, they were trying to wrestle and roughhouse with us, and basically play in all our other reindeer games.

“And then, it happened: I roughhoused a little too rough, tears were spilled, wailing ensued, and an hour later I’m in the manager’s office hearing the words,

“My son says I should release you.”

“Ah, Christ … What the hell just happened? What alternate dimension did I just fall into? Is this not the same coach who, just the other day, gave the team a lecture about mental toughness, about how we have to be committed to the grind if we want to make it to the top? Where was that guy, and who was this angry, protective dad who had taken his place?

“I got off with a warning, and had to go apologize to his kid. I was sorry, of course. I didn’t mean to hurt the boy, and, truly, he was a sweet kid. But should I have been in a conversation about the potential end of my career? When sweet kids have powerful parents, there can be powerful repercussions for innocent accidents.

“Of course, I was just a minor leaguer at the time. And most minor leaguers are expendable. It’s different in the majors. Even when we’re talking about kids in the clubhouse, one thing that has always been true in baseball still holds true: when you’re good, you get perks. And when you suck, you lose ’em. Some people think that the White Sox brass revoking Drake LaRoche’s all-access locker room pass is directly connected to his father’s shabby production last year.

“Maybe. When a player is beyond amazing, a face of the franchise and force in the game, they can get away with all kinds of stuff that an average or substandard player can’t. But that doesn’t mean they should. The White Sox aren’t wrong for telling LaRoche to cut back on bringing his kid to the locker room, whether or not he’s playing poorly.

“The fact of the matter is that the locker room is an adult space, for adults that have earned the privilege.

“Chances are there were players, coaches, and executives annoyed about the liberties LaRoche took with his kid coming in all the damn time, but simply sat silent until LaRoche’s production slipped and he became mortal. Thus, new season = new leaf = your kid doesn’t need to be here 100% of the time.

“It has nothing to do with Drake, or with punishing Adam, and everything to do with what a locker room is meant to be—a workplace. It can be juvenile, fun, and look like anything but work at times, but it’s still a huge part of a player’s routine. LaRoche recognizes this, too. In a statement he released today, he wrote:

“Though I clearly indicated to both teams the importance of having my son with me, I also made clear that if there was ever a moment when a teammate, coach or manager was made to feel uncomfortable, then I would immediately address it. I realize that this is their office and their career, and it would not be fair to the team if anybody in the clubhouse was unhappy with the situation.”

“Bottom line, if LaRoche wants to walk away because he wants to focus more on being a family man, that’s cool. I respect that. He’s made more than enough to provide for his family. He should enjoy his #familyfirst baseball afterlife.

“However, if LaRoche is leaving as some sort of protest to the oppressive White Sox regime and their draconian rules on child-rearing, well, that’s just a sorry first world problem that no one should shed a single tear over.

“And honestly, while we’re on the topic, why the hell would you want your kid in a major league locker room 100% of the time anyway? Is that really a good idea? I’m a grown man, and there are some things I’ve seen in there that I can’t un-see. Try explaining why there is a box of porn in the handicapped toilet stall, or why your teammates are in there making out with women other than their wives.

“Like I said, it’s a workplace, but not always a mature one. There’s no denying that unlimited access to a Big League clubhouse can teach your child a lot of things, but much of it is stuff you wouldn’t want them to learn.”

— ‘SORRY, ADAM LAROCHE: BASEBALL LOCKER ROOMS AREN’T DAYCARE CENTERS’,
Dirk Hayhurst, Vice Sports, March 18, 2016

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/sorry-adam-laroche-baseball-locker-rooms-arent-daycare-centers

http://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2016/03/26/irked-ballplayer-takeshis-son-goes-home/82308896/

J.T. Snow drags Darren, 3, son of Giants manager Dusty Baker, away from home plate and oncoming base runner, Game 5, World Series, San Francisco, Calif., October 24, 2002 (Photo-SusanPollard)
J.T. Snow drags Darren, 3, son of Giants manager Dusty Baker, away from home plate and oncoming base runner, Game 5, World Series, San Francisco, Calif., October 24, 2002 (Photo-SusanPollard)

‘Children At The Ballpark: Dusty Baker’s Idiocy’

https://youtu.be/WzV7x8WcR4g

Photo-Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Photo-Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

‘LaRoche releases statement to tell his own side of White Sox story’

“Earlier this week, Adam LaRoche abruptly left the White Sox after being told his 14-year-old son Drake could no longer be around the team on an everyday basis. Drake was with the team almost every day in 2015.

“White Sox players are unhappy that LaRoche, a popular teammate, has been pushed out the door. Most notably, staff ace Chris Sale called team vice president Kenny Williams a “bold-faced liar” and told him to stay out of the clubhouse. The MLBPA is reportedly considered a grievance.

“On Friday, LaRoche issued a statement explaining his side of the story. The full statement can be seen here:
http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sof75p

“Let’s break it down piece by piece, to fully understand what’s happening here:

“Given the suddenness of my departure and the stir it has caused in both the media and the clubhouse, I feel it’s necessary to provide my perspective.

“Over the last five years, with both the Nationals and the White Sox, I have been given the opportunity to have my son with me in the clubhouse. It is a privilege I have greatly valued. I have never taken it for granted, and I feel an enormous amount of gratitude toward both of those organizations.

“Though I clearly indicated to both teams the importance of having my son with me, I also made clear that if there was ever a moment when a teammate, coach or manager was made to feel uncomfortable, then I would immediately address it. I realize that this is their office and their career, and it would not be fair to the team if anybody in the clubhouse was unhappy with the situation. Fortunately, that problem never developed. I’m not going to speak about my son Drake’s behavior, his manners, and the quality of person that he is, because everyone knows that I am biased. All of the statements from my teammates, past and present, should say enough. Those comments from all of the people who have interacted with Drake are a testimony to how he carries himself.”

“LaRoche did not spring Drake’s presence on his teammates and his employers. He was upfront with the Nationals and the White Sox, with whom he has spent the last five seasons, that he would like to have his son with him. And if there was a problem, he would address it.

“There have been no such problems and LaRoche points to the support he and Drake have received from current teammates like Sale and Adam Eaton, as well as former teammates like Bryce Harper and Chipper Jones as evidence. Everyone seemed to love having Drake around.

“Prior to signing with the White Sox, my first question to the club concerned my son’s ability to be a part of the team. After some due diligence on the club’s part, we reached an agreement. The 2015 season presented no problems as far as Drake was concerned. (My bat and our record are another story!)

“With all of this in mind, we move toward the current situation which arose after White Sox VP Ken Williams recently advised me to significantly scale back the time that my son spent in the clubhouse. Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all. Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox. Upon doing so, I had to make a decision. Do I choose my teammates and my career? Or do I choose my family? The decision was easy, but in no way was it a reflection of how I feel about my teammates, manager, general manager or the club’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

“The White Sox organization is full of people with strong values and solid character. My decision to walk away was simply the result of a fundamental disagreement between myself and Ken Williams.”

“This is the important part. LaRoche said he and Williams had an “agreement” before Williams told him to “significantly scale back” the time Drake spent in the clubhouse. He was later told to “not bring him to the ballpark at all.”

“Earlier this week, Williams told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports he only asked LaRoche to “dial it back,” so his comments and LaRoche’s statement contradict. LaRoche says Williams told him not to bring Drake to the ballpark at all. The privilege had been revoked.

“LaRoche does go on to praise those in the organization for their values and does all he can to shoulder the blame. He called it a “fundamental disagreement” between himself and Williams. Rather than be unhappy and not have his son around, LaRoche decided to hang up his spikes. That’s his right.

“I understand that many people will not understand my decision. I respect that, and all I ask is for that same level of respect in return. I live by certain values that are rooted in my faith, and I am grateful to my parents for that. I have tried to set a good example on and off the field and live a life that represents these values. As fathers, we have an opportunity to help mold our kids into men and women of character, with morals and values that can’t be shaken by the world around them. Of one thing I am certain: we will regret NOT spending enough time with our kids, not the other way around.

“At every level of my career, the game of baseball has reinforced the importance of family to me. Being at my father’s side when he coached. Playing alongside my brothers as a kid and as an adult in the big leagues.

“Likewise, it has been great to have my son by my side to share in this experience as I played.”

“LaRoche has grown up around the game. His father Dave LaRoche played with five teams from 1970-83 and has been coaching since 1984. Adam and his brother Andy, a former top Dodgers prospect, grew up in clubhouses. LaRoche grew up around baseball players and now he wants his son to grow up around baseball players.

“This is normal to him. This is how he was brought up. It sounds weird to normal folks like you and me, who think it’s crazy to bring your kid to work every day or to have a teenager around alpha males in the clubhouse, but that’s how LaRoche was raised as a kid. It’s all he knows.

“In each and every instance, baseball has given me some of my life’s greatest memories. This was likely to be the last year of my career, and there’s no way I was going to spend it without my son.

“Baseball has taught me countless life lessons. I’ve learned how to face challenges, how to overcome failure, how to maintain humility, and most importantly, to trust that the Lord is in control and that I was put here to do more than play the game of baseball. We are called to live life with an unwavering love for God and love for each other. These are lessons I try to teach my kids every day. I truly am blessed to have been granted each of those experiences.

“Thank you to all of my previous managers, past teammates and friends across the league for making these past 12 years such a wonderful journey, and for providing me with memories that I will never forget–especially the ones with my son by my side.

“I will leave you with the same advice that I left my teammates. In life, we’re all faced with difficult decisions and will have a choice to make. Do we act based on the consequences, or do we act on what we know and believe in our hearts to be right? I choose the latter.
— Adam”

“The last part of LaRoche’s statement is basically a goodbye to baseball after a 12-year career. He never did win a World Series or even go to an All-Star Game, but he made a lot of friends and banked over $71 million in career earnings.

“LaRoche did not vilify Williams in his statement, which is good. The White Sox have every right to ask him to scale back the amount of time Drake spent at the park — I don’t think it was an unreasonable request at all — and LaRoche had every right to walk away.

“The only issue is that LaRoche said he was told not to bring Drake around at all when Williams said he only had to scale it back earlier this week. There’s a disconnect somewhere. I don’t want to say someone is lying — Sale had no trouble doing so! — but information seems to be missing.”

–‘LaRoche releases statement to tell his own side of White Sox story’,
Mike Axisa, CBS Sports, March 18, 2016

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/25522215/laroche-releases-statement-to-tell-his-own-side-of-white-sox-story

Ken Williams (Brian Cassella-Chicago Tribune)
Ken Williams (Brian Cassella-Chicago Tribune)

“Why did Williams take it upon himself to intervene with LaRoche?

“I oversee all of baseball operations here”, Williams said. “I very rarely feel the need to step in, but it’s my prerogative to do so when I feel the need.

“This had the potential to piss people off and I’m the best one to absorb the heat. Period. Rarely do I involve myself in clubhouse matters with the last being offensive music with lyrics that could offend the female reporters around. This would make the second time in maybe 12 years. That’s not terribly intrusive.”

“Williams was the team’s GM from 2000 to 2012 and during that time, the White Sox won their first World Series since 1917.”

–‘Why was the White Sox vice president the one to confront Adam LaRoche?’
Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports, Mar. 17, 2016

http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-white-sox-adam-laroche-drake-ken-williams-why-did-president-confront-him-031716Chicago_white_sox-Primary Logo (1939-1948)“Now, do we really think Chicago White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams acted alone here, going out of his way to alienate his own team and have one of its most popular players abruptly quit in anger?

“In the wake of Adam LaRoche’s surprise retirement, there are plenty of spinning narratives, as management, LaRoche and his teammates all testify within the court of public opinion.

“And while the early evidence frames this as a ‘Williams vs. LaRoche’ battle over clubhouse time for LaRoche’s son, multiple baseball officials with direct knowledge of the Adam LaRoche brouhaha told USA TODAY Sports a different tale.

“Several players and staff members privately complained to White Sox management recently about the constant presence of LaRoche’s 14-year-old son, Drake, in the clubhouse. Drake LaRoche, multiple people say, was with the team about 120 games during the 2015 season.

“The officials spoke to ‘USA TODAY Sports’ on condition of anonymity because the club has forbid officials from commenting.

“And it is tricky territory, certainly. Drake LaRoche, by all accounts, is a good and well-respected kid, even called the White Sox’s 26th man. White Sox manager Robin Ventura even joked Friday that

“he’s probably more mature than most of the guys in there.’’

“Still, he’s a child. And simply not everyone felt comfortable with Drake’s constant presence.

“Apparently, no one ever told LaRoche. These players and staff members didn’t feel comfortable even sharing it with their own teammates, with several White Sox players saying they never heard a complaint. But they did express their views to management.

“It put the White Sox in an awkward position. They were the ones who told LaRoche that his son could be with him as often as he desired when they signed him to a two-year, $26 million contract before the 2015 season. They even furnished him with his own locker and uniform, right next to dad.

“Perhaps the verbal agreement in theory felt far different in practice, and the White Sox were taken aback that LaRoche truly had his son everywhere with him. They were together virtually every home game. He made almost half the road trips. Flew on the team charters. And even participated in drills.

“While almost every major league organization welcomes such bonding, Drake was something of an outlier. Even Ken Griffey Jr., perhaps baseball’s most famous son, was only in the big league clubhouse with his dad a handful of games a year.

“Certainly, if the White Sox wanted to scale back Drake’s presence, someone should have told LaRoche during the winter. It at least should have been addressed before spring training.

“Instead, it wasn’t, until Williams heard complaints, sat down with LaRoche, and told him to scale back his son’s presence in camp. He could still come to camp and be in the clubhouse, but perhaps just half the time. Certainly, not every day.

“Well, after their heart-to-heart talk, nothing changed, according to multiple people in White Sox camp.

“LaRoche kept bringing his son to the ballpark every day. This went on for at least three or four days. When Williams saw Drake on the field this week, standing on the pitcher’s mound in the middle of a practice drill, he lost it.

“Williams told LaRoche that was it. He violated the privilege. No more clubhouse access.

“Williams later relented, and went back to his original request, simply asking LaRoche to cut his son’s clubhouse presence to about half of the time.

“Too late.

“LaRoche showed up Tuesday, told his teammates he was quitting, filled out retirement papers, and made it official Friday…

“Knowing that LaRoche is now gone, the players became even more infuriated on Friday, saying that the White Sox reneged on their agreement with him. Sure, maybe there was nothing in writing but there was a handshake deal. A commitment. LaRoche had his son alongside him for three years before even signing with the White Sox.

“I’m a big loyalty guy, a big promise guy’, said White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who joined the club in an offseason trade. “If you’re going to promise somebody something you have to go through with it, whatever that is, or to the extent to whatever it was.’’

“Williams spent two hours Wednesday trying to calm his team, but many of them screamed at him, even threatening to not get on the team bus to play the Milwaukee Brewers in their spring-training game.

“We got bold-faced lied to’, Sale said Friday, “by someone we were supposed to trust. This isn’t us rebelling against the rules. This is us rebelling against B.S. … Somebody walked out of those doors the other day and it was the wrong guy. Plain and simple.’’

Chris Sale
Chris Sale

“Williams, after hearing Sale’s comments, later spoke with him Friday, and fired off a statement that read:

“While I disagree with Chris’ assertions today, I certainly have always appreciated his passion.’’

“In this mess, it is Williams aiming to wedge himself between several factions, hoping to avoid a fracture within the organization.

“He’s the fall guy for this clubhouse unrest. The players don’t blame manager Robin Ventura, who realizes if he spoke up against LaRoche, he would lose his clubhouse for the rest of the season. Not a good idea when you’re on the final year of your contract.

“They don’t blame GM Rick Hahn. He’s the one who deals with the players the most, outside of Ventura and the coaching staff. He needs their trust and respect.

“They don’t blame Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who signs their paychecks and is considered the most loyal owner in baseball, even paying employees after they no longer work in the organization. Reinsdorf has stayed clear of the debris, just like Ventura and Hahn, but told the players that he will meet privately with a few of them in the next couple of days.

“I think the ultimate goal is to talk to him”, Sale said. “Jerry’s a very understanding person and I think if we can get to him and speak to him and actually have an adult conversation, I think we’ll be able to figure things out and iron out all the creases.’’

“Williams says he can handle it. He’s been criticized plenty of times as the former White Sox GM and President, so it’s nothing completely out of the ordinary — only this time, it’s a subject that transcends the box scores and instead, lands on the morning news shows.

“The biggest concern now is simply to make sure this disruption goes away before opening day and doesn’t linger, which Ventura conceded will be a challenge.

“We were rolling”, Sale said. “We had positive energy in here. Nobody saw anything as a distraction until all this happened. There was absolutely no problem in here whatsoever with anyone. And (Williams) kind of created a problem. We’re missing two big pieces to our puzzle, plain and simple. I’m not going to sit here and say it’s going to be the main reason (if the team struggles), or anything like that, but he’s definitely going to be missed, and we’re not going to get him back.’’

“And for LaRoche, his very public commitment to his son will leave a legacy that’s greater than anything he accomplished on the ballfield during his 14 years. Faith-based and family-focused organizations will surely reach out to him.

“I think a lot of people have stepped back”, White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton said, “and said, ‘If a man can step away from $13 million for his family and his son, what does it take for me to spend a little more time with my kid, or take a little more responsibility for my family situation?’’’

“I think he believes that the Lord put him in this position, he made this decision, and there are positives coming out of it. I think him retiring, and everybody standing up for him, it’s a credit to him…’’

Adam Eaton
Adam Eaton

“In life, we’re all faced with difficult decisions and will have a choice to make. Do we act based on the consequences, or do we act on what we know and believe in our hearts to be right? I choose the latter’’, LaRoche said in his statement.

“Then again, so did Williams.”

–‘In LaRoche-White Sox flap, Kenny Williams acted on behalf of others, too’,
Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports, March 19, 2016

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/bob-nightengale/2016/03/18/adam-laroche-drake-laroche-kenny-williams/81993428/

See also:
‘Sale calls Williams a ‘bold-faced liar,’ hangs LaRoche jerseys in clubhouse’
http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/25521949/sale-calls-williams-a-bold-faced-liar-hangs-laroche-jerseys-in-clubhouse

Photo-Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Photo-Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

‘Why Adam LaRoche’s Daddy Daycare Went Too Far’

“What am I not understanding about this Adam LaRoche story? Actually, scratch that. There is plenty here that I don’t understand, most of it from a parenting perspective.

“You’ll recall that LaRoche is the Chicago White Sox baseball player who, last week, abruptly retired after team management asked him to reduce the number of times his teenage son could visit the (team’s) clubhouse — by 50% — say the media reports. Some media have indicated that 14-year-old Drake LaRoche was in the White Sox clubhouse for about 120 games last season. What? Why?

“As the story goes, the elder LaRoche clearly did not appreciate the option offered by the club. The team held him accountable. LaRoche, in what appears to be peculiar decision, walked away from the final year of a two-year contract, leaving $13-million on the table — and retired. Sounds like a mega adult temper tantrum to me.

“The story has captured many of the spring training headlines — rightly or wrongly — and has many parents and non-parents scratching their heads, including myself.

“Having been inside many baseball dressing rooms over the years as a sports reporter, and inside the players-only areas of many other sports arenas and venues as a member of the media, I can tell you, this is a private area for the members of that team and should be left as such. That’s their domain, their space and should be treated that way.

“I remember vividly, several years ago covering the Montreal Alouettes football team for ‘CTV Montreal’, when then-coach Don Matthews (the winningest coach in Canadian Football League history at the time) suddenly instituted a policy barring media from entering the teams’ dressing room. The new rule would allow media to conduct interviews immediately outside the dressing room, against a backdrop with the team logo on it. Don Matthews“There was some backlash from reporters about being banned from the dressing room. Many citing that this would potentially impact the quality of the interviews and ultimately their stories if they didn’t have an opportunity to spend time with these athletes in their environment. I could maybe see that viewpoint for print journalists, but as a television sports reporter who was attached to a cameraman, whatever interview I got, my cameraman had to record — so there was no such thing as a discreet, private interview in front of a locker stall.

“I agreed with coach Matthews’ philosophy.

“The reason I agreed is because the Alouettes locker room was the place where the players worked out, showered, dressed, undressed, chatted, ate, socialized, did professional football player things — in a private space. Those things were no only else’s business, in my opinion. Professional athletes have enough of a spotlight and plenty of eyes on them in all kinds of environments daily and these days on an almost 24-7 basis, why not let them have a space of sanctity — away from everyone but their immediate sports family — teammates, coaches, team personnel — and on occasion if that includes a player’s own family member, then so be it. On occasion.

“Why in the world would Drake LaRoche need to spend that much time in the clubhouse of a major league baseball club? Where I come from, take your kid to work day happens once a year — and that is when your kid is in Grade 9 — hopefully only once per kid. Anything more than that, is entirely arbitrary and a super-slippery-slope. I cannot think of any occupation where the continual presence of an employees’ child would be welcomed, supported, tolerated or accepted.

“Irritated, aggravated, frustrated are some adjectives many employees would presumably begin to feel if one of their colleagues decided to have their kid or any family member for that matter appear at their place of work day after day.

“Secondly, once you’ve been read the rules, followed by somewhat of a ‘riot-act’ by your employer, what gives you the right to ignore that and continue on as per usual as if you are in charge. Isn’t part of sound parenting teaching kids to follow rules — inside their house and outside of it? Same drill for employee and employer — no? Furthermore, what recourse are you giving the rule-maker here? Only one. And that is to follow-through on the consequences of insubordination. Pretty plain and simple.

“It is increasingly difficult to believe that LaRoche would throw in the towel on his career because of a team rule reducing the frequency of his son’s presence in the clubhouse. There has to be more here. LaRoche could simply have followed through — less Drake at work, and he’d still have a job.

“Even homeschooling (if we’re using these types of visits as a field trip example) has limits. Limits. Yes, about those things — which seem to be increasingly lacking, in large amounts these days. LaRoche, from what I’ve read, was told that he could continue to have his son visit the clubhouse, just not as much.

“LaRoche is, by all accounts, a family man, who takes his parenting responsibility seriously. I applaud that. It’s extremely commendable, especially in the wild world of professional sports. He is also widely quoted as saying he does not “believe” in school. That’s a whole other debate. So with that mentality, spending time with his son in a professional baseball setting was a learning experience for the boy. Within reason, I would submit. Let’s face it, there are only so many quality life lessons a 14-year-old could possibly learn being in that environment consistently. And, it must be said, there would be plenty of things said in that atmosphere that should remain sealed from the ears of a young boy.

“Reports say LaRoche’s family, his kids, have previously asked him to retire from the game. Could it be that the guilt finally got to him? We all manage various levels of guilt as parents, don’t we? It can be gnawing and ultimately brutal, however pragmatic your approach.

“Reports say that several of LaRoche’s teammates complained to White Sox leadership about the consistent presence of this kid in their clubhouse. If that’s true, then they’ve all been pretty silent as the team’s executive, led by team VP Kenny Williams, gets dragged through the fallout.

“Bottom line, LaRoche had an opportunity to teach his kid(s) a true life lesson by following the rules, exercising the option offered him, curbing excessive visits and managing the situation, maturely. Admit that perhaps it was too much and have his kid visit, less. But no. He chose to steal the headlines and trigger a debate on a topic that many people, including myself, agree is not debatable. If he had chosen the rational and logical route, we would have never heard about this story. This blog would not exist.

“LaRoche chose to misuse the privilege granted him and his son. LaRoche chose to retire. No one forced him. He made his bed and needs to lie in it.

“Not the greatest example of role-modelling as a baseball player or parent.

–‘Why Adam LaRoche’s Daddy Daycare Went Too Far’,
Lianne Castelino, Huffington Post, 03/21/2016

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lianne-castelino/adam-laroche-daddy-day-care_b_9514648.html

Ken Griffey Jr., right, and brother Craig with dad in the Reds dugout (Cincinnati Enquirer file photo)
Ken Griffey Jr., right, and brother Craig with dad in the Reds dugout (Cincinnati Enquirer file photo)

‘Bringing kids to work is a big issue for baseball players’

“The White Sox are not the first team to grapple with players wanting their sons to join them at work.

“The Red Sox faced a similar concern in 2014 and after a team meeting established firmer guidelines for when players’ children could be around the club, according to major-league sources.

“The issue with the Red Sox surfaced during the 2013 postseason, when Major League Baseball expressed concern to the team about children on the field and in the dugout during batting practice and other pregame work, one source said.

“The team meeting took the place the following spring, with one member of that club saying it was about

“how long (the children) could stay, where they could be and when.”

“Specifically, the Red Sox limited field access for players’ children to early work only, not regular BP.

“We just had to clear them out before (pregame) stretch”, the player said. “There were too many kids in the outfield while the players were trying to get their work in.”

“Many fans find it curious that teams allow players to bring their children to work at all. As White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams put it Wednesday, talking about the team’s request for Adam LaRoche to scale back the presence of his 14-year-old son, Drake,

“Where in this country can you bring your child to work every day?”

“The answer, of course, is hardly anywhere. But major-league teams, recognizing the difficulty of players staying connected with their families through spring training, a 162-game season and possibly a postseason, take different steps to reduce the separation.

“The Red Sox, for example, opened a family room that is connected to their clubhouse, complete with full-time child care, food and tutors, a source said. The room enables players to bring their children early and spend time with them. The children then can retreat to the room before games.

“LaRoche, 36, retired and walked away from his $13-million salary after Williams asked him to reduce Drake’s presence around the club. Drake had been LaRoche’s constant companion during his four seasons with the Nationals and first season with the White Sox.

“Many fans wondered: Why isn’t Drake in school? A story by the ‘Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore in Feb. 2013 answered the question.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/for-adam-laroche-nationals-spring-training-is-take-your-son-to-work-day-every-day/2013/02/25/5c313814-7f95-11e2-a350-49866afab584_story.html

“Long ago, LaRoche prioritized bringing Drake with him over traditional schooling”, Kilgore wrote.

“He goes to class in winter. In Viera (Fla., the Nationals’ spring-training site), he brings schoolwork with him and sees a private tutor at a ‘Sylvan Learning Center’. They live in a small Kansas town, and LaRoche arranged Drake’s education with the public school. LaRoche said Drake’s school is fine so long as Drake passes standardized tests.”

“We’re not big on school”, LaRoche told the Post. “I told my wife, ‘He’s going to learn a lot more useful information in the clubhouse than he will in the classroom, as far as life lessons.’ “

“The story also noted,

“LaRoche himself grew up in big-league clubhouses. His father, Dave LaRoche, pitched in the majors until LaRoche was 4, then became a coach with the Chicago White Sox. LaRoche and his brother, Andy, would play handball in the clubhouse with the starting pitcher, once he had been removed from the game, or a player on the disabled list.”

“It is a different lifestyle. And as many players will attest, the issue is not as simple as, “Leave your kid at home.”

–‘Bringing kids to work is a big issue for baseball players’,
Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports, Mar. 17, 2016

http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/adam-laroche-drake-chicago-white-sox-bringing-kids-to-work-a-big-issue-in-baseball-031716
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‘Adam LaRoche Statistics and History’:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/larocad01.shtml

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