Adam LaRoche and his 14-year-old son Drake aren’t with the White Sox anymore; the first baseman walked away from the team on Tuesday after Kenny Williams asked him to reduce Drake’s time around the clubhouse. This unique MLB controversy gets more confusing, however. Today, reports claim that White Sox players considered a walkout to support LaRoche and his son. MLB insider Ken Rosenthal even has beloved Sox ace Chris Sale booting the team VP out of the clubhouse over the matter.
ESPN’s Karl Ravech reported that some White Sox players contemplated a boycott of Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Brewers because of Williams’s (totally reasonable) decision. Additionally, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago got outfielder Adam Eaton and Williams to confirm that some players wanted Drake to stay. According to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, Sale—who could probably murder someone and get the okay from Sox fans and players—blew up at Williams in an intense meeting:
All this information complicates matters. Who, exactly, didn’t want Drake in the clubhouse?
Williams said in his statement to Ken Rosenthal that Drake was a “great young man,” which is probably true. Even if not, Williams is not going to blast a 14-year-old in the media even if he is a rude garbage son, so he’s playing this perfectly. (Williams is ready to take the heat for the Sox being institutionally tired of their lousy first baseman bringing his son around literally every single day, whether that means he is personally, or is just fronting for players who are. Anyway, he’s no stranger to feuds within the organization.)
The thing is that this walkout proposal could be bullshit. Sale and Eaton might have backed LaRoche, and Sale may have blown up over things, but that’s not everyone. Maybe a player, or several, actually got sick of Drake walking around without picking up his feet or committing some other teen behavior; maybe not. Either way, by issuing an edict about how teens shouldn’t be in the clubhouse more than 50 percent of the time, Williams covers for employees who may or may not be fed up while allowing all the players to look like they care about family over baseball, even if they don’t.
The complaints (if they exist) will stay unattributed, because it’s highly unlikely that someone on the White Sox will say on the record that they don’t want to work in an environment with a 14-year-old trudging around, even if it’s not that controversial of an opinion. The team is clearly comfortable leaving any complaints anonymous and LaRoche as the only publicly aggrieved party. That all works fine. Williams doesn’t mind if he’s viewed as an evil, overbearing boss, and if his team wins in the absence of a teen, he’ll probably just smile; meanwhile, no one actually boycotted a ballgame in favor of LaRoche’s right to have his teen son hang out, so no matter how steamed Sale and his associates got, probably everyone can live with how things worked out, and will be just fine if the Sox win more than they lose for once.