Chicago White Sox Executive Vice President Kenny Williams reportedly received complaints from staff members and other players before asking Adam LaRoche to scale back the amount of time his 14-year-old son spent in the clubhouse.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the situation, which led the 36-year-old slugger to retire, came after other people in the organization privately raised concerns about LaRoche’s son, Drake, spending so much time around the team. It’s noted he attended around 120 games last season.
Nobody had any personal issues with Drake, who was at times called the team’s 26th man, but his nearly daily appearances with the club apparently became an issue behind the scenes, according to Nightengale.
The entire ordeal has become a major headache for the White Sox. Chris Bahr of Fox Sports passed along comments Williams made to the outlet’s Ken Rosenthal about trying to get LaRoche to follow a more standard approach when it came to bringing his son to work:
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?
LaRoche provided his side of the story Friday with a statement posted on social media. He confirmed his departure from the team came as a result of the disagreement with Williams. But he stated the request eventually reached a stage where he was asked that Drake not come to the clubhouse at all:
With all of this in mind, we move toward the current situation which arose after White Sox VP Ken Williams recently advised me to significantly scale back the time that my son spent in the clubhouse. Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all. Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox. Upon doing so, I had to make a decision. Do I choose my teammates and my career? Or do I choose my family? The decision was easy, but in no way was it a reflection of how I feel about my teammates, manager, general manager or the club’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
Starting pitcher Chris Sale took a strong stance Friday, stating: “Somebody walked out of those doors the other day and it was the wrong guy. We got bald-faced lied to by someone that we trust. This isn’t us rebelling against rules; this is us rebelling against B.S.,” per ESPN.com.
Ultimately, what happened behind closed doors that led White Sox management to take the issue up with LaRoche still isn’t entirely clear. If there were a large number of players and staff who didn’t approve of the arrangement, it likely felt pressure to push for the change.
One thing’s for sure: It’s now become a full-blown crisis. Not only did Chicago lose a potent power threat from its lineup, but it’s clear from Sale’s comments that not everybody is on the same page, which could polarize the club.
Rectifying those problems before Opening Day next month is a must.
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