On Tuesday, Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche announced, much to the relief of White Sox fans, that he would retire from baseball. It now appears that his decision was related less to his inability to hit at a major league level or to injuries than to his 14-year-old son, Drake. According to Ken Rosenthal, LaRoche walked away from the team because team vice-president Kenny Williams asked him to not bring a teen into the clubhouse every damn day.
Rosenthal has a statement from Williams, in which he essentially says he told LaRoche, “Look, can you bring your son around less? Just a little less? Doesn’t he have school or something?”
“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, 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.
“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?”
LaRoche’s brother Andy supported his decision by posting a photo yesterday of Adam and Drake:
The Chicago Tribune wrote an article last June on Drake being the team’s “26th man.” No one quoted seemed to have a problem with the kid then, although given dad’s status as a friend of the Duck Dynasty crew (Willie Robertson turned up for LaRoche at White Sox Faith Day last year) and the family penchant for posing with high-grade weaponry, that may have been mainly out of fear:
Before games, shagging balls is Drake’s favorite activity, as he keeps track of consecutive fly balls caught to try to break his record of 24. He hangs out in the Sox video room during games and runs errands like grabbing water or sunflower seeds.
LaRoche doesn’t feel like he needs to keep tabs on his son at all times but said he is expected to earn his keep.
“He knows if he’s going to be a part of it, he needs to stay out of the way when guys are working and then help out where he can,” LaRoche said.
Adam LaRoche was going to make $13 million this season, and he gave it up because the team asked him to leave his teenaged son at home a little more often. This is the best baseball controversy in quite some time.