Four-time All-Star pitcher Chris Sale is one notable teammate who’s adamantly come to LaRoche’s defense. He spoke about the tricky situation on Friday.
“This isn’t us rebelling against rules. This is us rebelling against BS,” said Sale, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Sale also described what happened between LaRoche and White Sox vice president Kenny Williams:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today snapped an image of the LaRoche jerseys hanging on Sale’s locker:
Sale implied Williams should have been the one to leave the organization rather than LaRoche.
“Even the story that everyone is reading isn’t the issue. We have a much bigger problem on our hands,” Sale said, per John Barchard of 97.5 The Fanatic. Sale added, per WGN Radio’s Kevin Powell, “Somebody walked out of those doors the other day, and it was the wrong guy. Plain and simple.”
Per ESPN.com news services, sources told ESPN’s Karl Ravech that Chicago players were contemplating a boycott for Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirmed that to be the case and indicated players who met with Williams were incensed by the clubhouse policy for LaRoche’s son.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, who initially reported on LaRoche’s retirement, provided insight with specific regard to Sale and Williams’ exchange on Thursday:
The White Sox ultimately showed up to play versus Milwaukee, but there definitely appears to be lingering tension within the organization.
Williams spoke to Rosenthal about the controversy, per FoxSports.com’s Chris Bahr:
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?
Chicago center fielder Adam Eaton also spoke in Bahr’s report, saying, “Adam and Drake are probably the most respected people in baseball I ever played with. Drake would clean cleats, he would help out in drills, pick up baseballs when we needed, he didn’t say boo to anybody and was never a trouble in the clubhouse.”
Per Shaikin, Eaton said on Friday White Sox players hope to meet with owner Jerry Reinsdorf in the next couple of days.
LaRoche would have made $13 million this season but chose to walk away, confirming his decision on Twitter with “#FamilyFirst” as the hashtag to end his announcement. The 36-year-old was on a two-year contract and still had some baseball left but is at an age where retirement is within reason.
If relations are repaired, perhaps LaRoche will reconsider his sudden decision. According to White Sox players Nightengale cited, though, they’re convinced he won’t be coming back.
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