If Adam LaRoche is retiring from the White Sox because they won’t let his son be a fixture in the clubhouse, that’s on him. Take Your Child to Work Day is a day, not a season.
LaRoche reportedly is upset that Sox vice president Ken Williams doesn’t want the designated hitter’s 14-year-old son hanging out in the clubhouse. Drake LaRoche has a locker next to his dad’s both at the Sox’ spring-training facility in Glendale, Ariz., and at The Cell.
If LaRoche feels so strongly about this that he would walk away from a $13 million salary, then he’s a man of deep convictions. But it doesn’t mean he’s right. The locker room is a sanctum for the players, and although their children are welcome, only the athletes are supposed to be fixtures there. That extends even to managers, who know that, almost as a rule, they’re supposed to be scarce in the clubhouse.
Williams addressed the issue in a statement to Fox baseball analyst Ken Rosenthal:
“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.”
Part of this might stem from the Ozzie Guillen days. Williams clashed with his ex-manager over the antics of Guillen’s son, Oney, who was critical of Williams on social media. Separation of church and state became that much more important.
Imagine showing up for work with your son or daughter, no matter how loose and unconventional your workplace might be. The people with actual jobs can’t completely be themselves. Eventually, they’re going to resent you and your child. And that could affect your entire office.
A major-league baseball player shouldn’t have to be told this.
I’ve seen Drake LaRoche in the Sox’ clubhouse. He seems as respectful as can be. But a baseball clubhouse is no place for a kid. And his dad should know that.
There can’t be distractions in a ballplayer’s life if he wants to be successful. By all accounts, LaRoche is a devoted family man. If he’s going to carry ill will toward the team he plays for, then the Sox’ clubhouse is no place for him.
A tip of the cap to him for sticking to his values, but they’re skewed here.