On the fourth Thursday of each April, more than 37 million Americans participate in “Take Your Child to Work Day.” For former White Sox Designated Hitter, Adam LaRoche, this will not be the case. LaRoche has created a media frenzy for announcing his retirement after the Chicago White Sox told him that he needed to cut back the amount of time that his 14-year old son, Drake, spent in the clubhouse.
LaRoche is known around the league to be a man with very strong family values. In fact, when he signed with the Washington Nationals in 2011, LaRoche made it clear to upper management that he would like to have his son around the clubhouse. When signing with the White Sox in 2015, LaRoche said that he and Executive Vice President, Ken Williams, made a verbal agreement on the same basis.
Now this is when things get messy.
Williams and LaRoche made a verbal agreement that his son would be allowed in the clubhouse. In this agreement, they did not discuss how often his son was to be around. In a statement following LaRoche’s retirement, Williams said ,
“I don’t think [Drake LaRoche] should be here 100 percent of the time – and he has been here 100 percent, every day, in the clubhouse…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?”
Unfortunately for Williams, many people have spoken out and disagreed with the way in which he has handled this situation. This includes White Sox ace, Chris Sale. Sale made his opinions very clear when he said
“We got bold-faced lied to by someone that we trust.” Sale also added that Drake was “a blast to have around” and that both LaRoches were “two big pieces to the puzzle.”
Okay, let’s all take a deep breath. When I look at this situation, I try and see both sides of the argument. First lets look from Williams’ perspective. As the Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox, he has every right to tell LaRoche that his son cannot be around the clubhouse as often. If Williams believes that Drake’s presence was going to effect the team’s success, then he should be able to limit his access. Williams also makes a great point in saying “where in this country can you bring your child to work every day?” I believe that many players may lose sight that they aren’t just playing a game, but doing their job that pays millions of dollars.
Now lets look at this from LaRoche’s perspective. I have an endless amount of respect for the way LaRoche handled himself throughout this whole process. The former slugger explained his retirement when he said that he “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.” Family is truly more important to LaRoche and you can’t fault him for that. In fact, I envy the way LaRoche stuck to his values and stayed true to the man that he is, even with millions of dollars on the line. Ultimately, nobody was forcing LaRoche to give up his career; he made that choice himself. So who do we blame this situation on?
Both Williams and LaRoche could have handled themselves better. To be honest, this has escalated way out of hand. Fans have even begun to create GoFundMe pages for the LaRoche family…Are you kidding me? This guy is a multi-millionaire. He probably walked away because he had plenty of money and wanted to spend his time with his family. People need to relax and start focusing on White Sox baseball rather than the drama surrounding the team.
The Chicago White Sox have an endless amount of potential to finally emerge from the cellar of the AL Central. During this off-season, the White Sox went on a spending spree, reeling in players such as Alex Avila, Todd Fraser, Austin Jackson, Mat Latos, and Brett Lawrie. They have taken a step forward with their off-season acquisitions, but it seems like the drama revolving around this team may prevent them from reaching their full potential.