Adam LaRoche v. White Sox: Who’s Right?

 

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Adam LaRoche, the Chicago White Sox’s First Baseman and Designated Hitter, has reportedly retired. Nobody saw it coming. Here’s why:

According to ESPN, “LaRoche had asked after signing with the White Sox last winter if Drake [his 14 year-old son] could have clubhouse access, and that request was granted by White Sox manager Robin Ventura. Drake not only had his own uniform and spring training locker last year, but also had a locker in the White Sox clubhouse during the regular season”.

It was also noted that, “at no point did Drake appear to be a distraction last season, and was in fact a welcome addition to the group. He played video games with players pregame, shagged balls during batting practice and was not one to draw attention to himself in the clubhouse, respecting the players’ space”.

So, what changed?

The White Sox asked LaRoche to limit Drake’s time with the team.

From what I’ve heard on the Today Show this morning, Drake went with his father to all the games, and became became the unofficial “26th Man”. Some, however, became tired with his son in the clubhouse and locker room. Apparently, some of the players met with White Sox officials to discuss this.

When the Sox asked LaRoche to dial back his son’s participation, LaRoche didn’t take it too well. With one year and 13 million dollars left on his contract, LaRoche decided to retire a little early.

The question is, who’s right?

I’m going to present both sides of the case here, and let you decide on your own. I am not going to force you to think a certain side (in other words, I’m not a politician).

LaRoche’s Case:

In the same ESPN article mentioned above, “in LaRoche’s defense, he also grew up as a kid in major league clubhouses. His father, Dave LaRoche, was a pitcher for 14 seasons, most notably six with the California Angels. So he knew from firsthand experience how valuable time in a major league clubhouse can be”.

Drake seems to participate in a sort of homeschooling mixed in with traditional schooling, according to ESPN. This allowed him to participate in clubhouse activities.

In LaRoche’s mind, I don’t think he sees his career as work, which I think is important. Which I think is cool. Your job is best when you enjoy it. He may think that, because it’s not work, he can bring his son wherever he wants, as his father of course. But when somebody tried to tinker with what he thought, things obviously did not go well. It’s that way with any man.

Many players stand with LaRoche and see no reason why Drake can’t be in the clubhouse, calling baseball a “family first” game. Some even threatened to boycott yesterday’s Spring Training game.

White Sox’s Case:

This is where things get tricky. To the White Sox management, I think they view this as work. This is very key. In their minds, they’re probably saying, “in this contract, this guy gives us quality work, and his gives his complete focus on his work, in exchange for millions of dollars”. That’s how a business works. The White Sox are nothing but a business that wants to make money. Their way of making money, is by winning. When they don’t win, time is wasted. Especially with the moves the White Sox made over the offseason, with the additions of Todd Frazier and Alex Avila.

Because the White Sox has the “work” mentality (that’s what I call it), they may see Drake as a distraction to some players. Again, they’re trying to win. So if there’s a distraction, as a business they’re going to try to figure things out, for what they think is best for the team.

While other MLB players bring their children to their clubhouse, including Ranger Prince Fielder and Tiger Victor Martinez, they do not bring their children to the clubhouse everyday as LaRoche did.

The Verdict:

Up to you, the reader. You are the jury. Do you think that LaRoche is right to keep his son in the clubhouse, or are the White Sox right by trying to reduce his son’s time with the players? Please let us know in the poll below, and feel free to add any additional comments to this post!

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7 thoughts on “Adam LaRoche v. White Sox: Who’s Right?

  1. This is such a huge can of worms and it is kind of unfortunate that it has gone public. I have mixed feelings on the issue. I definitely see the White Sox management’s point of view. It is one thing to bring a kid to the clubhouse every once in a while, or even semi-regularly, but 100 percent of the time seems a bit excessive. With his own locker and uniform? I have a 14-year-old and I’d prefer that he spend time with boys his own age rather than guys in their 20s and up, as great as they may be. The players have claimed not to mind, and LaRoche’s son sounds like a great kid, but where do you draw the line? Imagine a clubhouse full of 20 unruly toddlers. I think that LaRoche took advantage of the good nature of the management and players and now has placed them and his kid in a really awkward spot. How do you give a kid that kind of access for years and now tell him he can’t have it? At the same time, I give LaRoche credit for standing by his beliefs and his son and for choosing family over money and career. The truth is, he just can’t have it all his way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment, Maria!

      I too have mixed feelings. On one hand, the Sox agreed to let LaRoche to bring his son to the clubhouse upon signing. On the other, I think Drake was a distraction to LaRoche, seeing his stats last year.

      Thanks again for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s definitely an interesting case to look at. I can understand why LaRoche would want to bring his son into the clubhouse, but one argument I’ve heard is that this wouldn’t be a problem if LaRoche was producing. His numbers last season were average at best (hitting around .200, 12 HR, and 44 RBI). The White Sox were paying him $13 million and that’s all he was able to do? Maybe they saw it as a distraction for LaRoche… I feel like we may never know the exact truth because it seems to be player vs. organization. It’s sad that he chose to retire because of this, but I can see the White Sox point of view a little more than LaRoche’s. They are a business no matter what, and if the team isn’t producing, they will take the actions to ensure that it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment, Becky! I forgot to add LaRoche’s production into the article, so I’m glad that you brought it up. I honestly do lean on the Sox’s side as well, I think Drake might have been a distraction to LaRoche last season. Other than what he had to focus on for the team, LaRoche might’ve had to worry about where his son is at, making sure he’s not getting into any trouble, etc. While I do not have a problem with the kind of schooling Drake is receiving (as I am a former homeschooled student myself), I think that “Bring Your Kid to Work Day” was taken to an extreme in LaRoche’s case.

      Thanks again for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I only know about his stats because Tim and Buster brought it up on Baseball Tonight last night haha. But there was no need for his son to go to the field every day. To me, it seems like LaRoche was taking advantage of it when it would had made more sense to have his son come every once in a while. And like, what made him so special that he could bring his son every day? Like I’m sure all players who are dads wish they could bring their kids in. So why was it only LaRoche?
        No problem! I find this really interesting for some reason, so I have been following it on ESPN haha.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Haha, I found out about the stats on another blog I looked at sometime yesterday.

          I agree with you, and think that was a big reason on why the Sox asked LaRoche to reduce his son’s time with the clubhouse. I think I heard on the Today Show yesterday that it was a huge reason, because if they let LaRoche bring his son everyday, how could they say no to all the other players if they wanted their sons? It becomes a slippery slope, because what if a player wanted to bring in their daughter into the locker room? Then the public will point at the LaRoche case and say “but you guys let his son in… That’s gender discrimination!”

          I also agree with your point earlier that we may not know a lot of things about what went on. It did seem strange that LaRoche suddenly decides to retire because his son can’t come to the clubhouse as often as LaRoche wants. Then again, when one makes millions on top of millions of dollars, one can retire a little early to put his family first.

          Like

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