Yesterday we learned that Adam LaRoche decided to retire. It was a sudden revelation, as there hadn't been any reason to suspect that something like this was coming. Despite an abysmal 2015 season, LaRoche appeared to be excited to get back on track in 2016, and prove that he could handle the DH role.
As the story unfolded, it seemed that this decision was LaRoche's, and that it was because of personal reasons; and while that's still true, now we know the official reason.
Sources: LaRoche chose to retire after #WhiteSox prez Ken Williams told him that he no longer could bring 14-year-old son into clubhouse.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2016
LaRoche’s son, Drake, 14, has traveled with him for several years. Adam, in a Chicago Tribune story last year, called him team’s "26th man."— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2016
The immediate reaction was undoubtedly one of scorn towards the White Sox organization; however after more details leaked out, their position didn't seem as strange as it initially did.
@justinbopp he had his own locker, and there were stories indicating he was there whenever his dad was, traveled w/team, etc.— Adam J. Morris (@lonestarball) March 16, 2016
@justinbopp according to a tribune story the kid was bringing along weeks of homework & going on road trips, etc— Lindsey Adler (@Lahlahlindsey) March 16, 2016
While baseball players spend an incredible amount of time away from their families, for LaRoche to bring his son into the clubhouse seemingly everyday, and on road trips, is a little much. Kenny Williams, the White Sox president, offered a statement in which he made it clear that he wasn't barring LaRoche's son from the clubhouse, but simply asking him to "dial it back".
"There has been no policy change with regards to allowance of kids in the clubhouse, on the field, the back fields during spring training. This young man that we're talking about, Drake, everyone loves this young man. In no way do I want this to be about about him.
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 ball park 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 this 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 everyday?"
This story has shifted several times in the span of a couple hours, and while the White Sox looked awful when the first rumors began to circulate, their stance on this does seem reasonable now. The clubhouse is often times not a kid-friendly environment, and having LaRoche's son around 100 percent of the time would have affected how the other players' had to act on a daily basis.
There will no doubt be a variety of opinions on this situation, and it's hard to say which is right, and which is wrong. The White Sox could have handled all of this much better than they did, but unfortunately what's done is done.
According to Scott Merkin, LaRoche has already signed his retirement papers, but Chicago will wait to send them off in case he reconsiders his decision.
If more information is made available, this story will be updated.