MLB Player Retires After Team Says His Son Can’t Be in the Clubhouse Every Day
A new controversy is swirling in baseball and this time, performance-enhancing drugs are not at the center.
Chicago White Sox’s Adam LaRoche, a projected starter for the club who was scheduled to make $13 million dollars in 2016, abruptly retired in the midst of Spring Training this week. According to confirmed reports, the athlete walked away over a disagreement with the White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams over how often the slugger’s 14-year-old son, Drake, could be in the clubhouse.
LaRoche, a second generation ball player whose father and brother played in the big leagues, brought Drake around enough that the youngster had his own locker in the White Sox clubhouse. The player explained the bond he and his son shared over the sport in a 2014 Washington Post piece.
“It’s like having your son and your best friend alongside you all day long, at work, which never gets to happen. I don’t know many jobs where you can bring your kid and not have to put him in daycare somewhere. It’s been awesome,” said LaRoche.
Apparently some in the White Sox organization weren’t as enthusiastic about Drake’s presence feeling it may be distracting to the team.
Williams, in a statement given to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal expressed this point of view, while vehemently denying that what happened had anything to do with the boy’s behavior.
“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 percent of the time – and he has been here 100 percent, every day, in the clubhouse. I said that I don’t even think he should be here 50 percent of the time. Figure it out, somewhere in between.”
Good for you Roche! Nothing like father and son in the clubhouse..It's a FAMILY game #FamilyFirst— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) March 16, 2016
As news of LaRoche’s retirement and the reasoning behind it spread, the controversy widened also.
Numerous media personalities and players voiced their opinions on the matter. This included Washington Nationals superstar and LaRoche’s former teammate Bryce Harper, who tweeted “Good for you Roche! Nothing like father and son in the clubhouse..It’s a FAMILY game #FamilyFirst”
For their part, LaRoche’s White Sox teammates apparently went as far as considering boycotting their Thursday Spring Training game vs the Brewers, leading to speculation of acrimony between the team and the front office. The team has also yet to officially file LaRoche’s retirement papers, meaning this situation might have some more twists and turns left.