I know it’s early, but let me be the first to suggest a Halloween costume for this year. You and a friend can don Adam LaRoche uniforms and go to a party as a father-and-son package deal. Public sentiment being what it is against LaRoche, I’d suggest wearing cups.
The difference in opinion between what White Sox players apparently think about the saga (they’re pro-LaRoche) and what the public thinks (primarily: Kids in the workplace? Are you kidding me?) is huge. You can bet the team will assume an us-vs.-the-world attitude this season.
If the Sox fall apart in 2016, I don’t want to hear any of the players blame it on the spring-training turmoil brought on by LaRoche’s retirement. Likewise, if the Sox make the playoffs, I don’t want to hear players talk about Drake LaRoche as the inspiration behind their success.
I’m sure I’ll be fighting a losing battle.
By this time, you know the story (and probably would like to see it go away forever): The Sox asked LaRoche to scale back his 14-year-old son’s presence in the clubhouse. Drake LaRoche had been with the team most days last season, home and away, and had a locker in the clubhouse both at The Cell and at spring training. LaRoche, who said he had a handshake deal with the Sox that Drake could be there at all times, resigned. Sox players were upset about his departure, pitcher Chris Sale publicly called vice president Ken Williams a liar and the debate over everything from clubhouse culture to parental responsibility raged nationally. On Sunday, team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf declared the controversy dead.
Sale said the turmoil derailed the progress the Sox had made during spring training. A day later, he said they were moving on. I don’t think so. These are athletes. They look for motivational causes, and they look for, ahem, explanations when a season goes south. If it sounds like high-school stuff, it’s because the mentality in the pros isn’t that much different.
As for Halloween timeliness, have no fears. You’ll still be topical when you show up dressed as the LaRoches at that party in late October. If the Sox make the playoffs, you’ll be the family man and his polite son who fueled a successful season. If the season goes badly, you’ll be Dr. Evil and Mini-Me. If that happens, as I said, bring protection.