Friday, March 18, 2016
Adam LaRoche and Putting #FamilyFirst
Earlier this week, a news story broke regarding Chicago White Sox baseball player Adam LaRoche. The story seemed to have come out of nowhere and I'm sure White Sox fans are still scratching their heads over how this happened. To sum it up: Adam LaRoche, when he signed with the Chicago White Sox, had an agreement of sorts with the organization that his son would be allowed in the clubhouse and it was one of the deciding factors of him agreeing to the contract terms. His son was a mainstay at the park and even had his own locker assigned to him. He would clean cleats, help pick up around the clubhouse, and was well liked amongst the players. Apparently, something changed this preseason. The organization demanded that LaRoche limit his son's clubhouse time to under 50% (vs. the nearly 100% it was last season) and that they wanted more focus around the clubhouse. They insisted this didn't have to do with Drake LaRoche (his son) and instead was a general observation that they wanted to change to increase focus. LaRoche, upset that this perk was taken from him, decided to leave 13 million on the table and retire early due to this turn of events.
That's the general story. Based off of that, you can take away many things, but for me, it's simple. LaRoche was promised something and it was taken away so he reevaluated whether that was something he wanted to be a part of and decided against it. Say what you want about whether or not you think a kid should be in the clubhouse, the fact remains that all of last season he was allowed. The players loved the kid so much that when they heard about the early retirement of LaRoche, they considered a boycott to support him. Players from around the league even started chipping in their two cents and supported LaRoche for his decision. Most notably was Bryce Harper, National's center fielder, who supported his decision. Bryce himself grew up around baseball and spent plenty of time around players in the clubhouse. It seems odd that the higher ups in the organization would yank this privilege, but at the end of the day, that is their right. It's their team and they obviously saw an issue with how events were playing out and put their foot down. I'm not a ball player and I've never been around players in locker rooms. I don't have a say in this matter, all I can do is respect that they have the right to make a rule change within their organization. But, in the same regard, players have a right to act out if they are unhappy or see an injustice being done to a teammate, and it appears that is what is happening.
I love seeing players standing up for their own, but what I really love is seeing athletes putting #FamilyFirst. LaRoche was set to make 13 million in 2016, but he decided spending time with his kid was worth more than this. Players love the game of the baseball. They spent all of their life training to enter the majors and when they are there, most stay as long as their bodies physically allow them to. LaRoche still had some time left, but he looked at the finite years he had with his young son and the value exceeded that of the one being offered by the Chicago White Sox. We hear a lot about celebrity fathers changing diapers and being lauded as fatherhood heroes. That's BS - this a fatherhood hero and one Drake LaRoche should be proud of.
I don't know how this will turn out. The last thing I heard was that the White Sox haven't turned in the papers LaRoche submitted because they are hoping this blows over and rescinds his retirement statement. Honestly, I hope he sticks to his guns. Baseball players have a demanding job and they are away from their families a lot. By Adam making this gesture he is showing his son that the time they have right now, while he is still young and looking up to his dad with childlike wonder, is more precious to him than playing a few more years in baseball. The ideal situation here would be the White Sox not taking away a privilege a player was offered, but that's their right, just like it's Adam's right to put #FamilyFirst and walk away from the game.