Earlier in the week White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche announced his retirement from the game of baseball. This came as a bit of a shock just weeks before Opening Day. At only 36 years old, LaRoche had a couple of seasons left in him and a 1 year, $13 million contract on the books for 2016.
It wasn’t until a few days later that news broke that he retired because of the White Sox decision to no longer allow his 14 year old son into the clubhouse. Whether you agree with White Sox GM Rick Hahn’s decision or not you have to admit this whole situation is kind of annoying. The team president had to tell LaRoche (not the manager for whatever reason), the players almost boycotted a game (a spring training game, but a game nonetheless), and players like Chris Sale have come out to say he gets “contentious” around the GM over LaRoche and that they were “lied to” by management about the details of LaRoche’s retirement.
This situation is a mess, players are angry, management is struggling to fix it, and a player is retiring all over a child’s ability to enter a clubhouse. The kicker is that the kid is actually well liked in the clubhouse, so why ban him?? Clearly the White Sox brass did not expect such a shit storm when they made this decision, but anything that becomes this divisive and contentious just 2 weeks before the first real pitch of the year is thrown was a bad a idea from the start. And of course this is not even factoring in the fact that the White Sox just lost a valuable player for the 2016 season.
However, in this mess there is one bright spot and that is family. LaRoche, the 13 year veteran, has always had his son in the clubhouse with him; he likes to have his family close, especially his son who is an avid baseball fan. The biggest take away here is Adam LaRoche showed that he cares more about his family than he does playing the game of baseball and the money, as evident by his walking away from $13 million (all money is guaranteed in baseball) for this upcoming season. It’s a tough call to make and a rough spot to be placed in, but LaRoche made his stance perfectly clear, that family trumps money. He would rather have his son by his side with him more than the $13 million the White Sox would have to pay him. That’s sticking to your guns and your beliefs, something we do not see often in today’s game.
It turns out family really does come first.